Lactobacillus, a genus of probiotic bacteria, plays an important role in human health, especially regarding the digestive system and the immune system. These bacteria can be found in a variety of environments, including the human body and fermented foods. Compared to other probiotic bacteria such as Bifidobacteria, Lactobacilli exhibit some specific characteristics.

Characteristics of Lactobacilli

Temporary Colonization in the Gut: Lactobacilli tend to not permanently colonize the human gut, unlike Bifidobacteria, which generally show a higher tendency for long-term colonization. These differences are partly due to the specialized adaptations of Bifidobacteria to the gut microbiome and their ability to metabolize a wider range of substrates. Lactobacilli, on the other hand, are less adaptable to the complex environment of the gut, which impairs their ability to settle permanently.

Diverse Metabolism: Lactobacilli metabolize a wide range of substrates, including various sugars, lactose, prebiotic fibers, proteins, peptides, and organic acids. This ability contributes to their role in fermentation and to promoting gut health.

Extensive Research: There is extensive scientific research on Lactobacilli, making them one of the best-studied genera of probiotic bacteria. This research has expanded our understanding of their role in human health and their application in probiotic products.

New Classifications of Lactobacilli

The genus Lactobacillus has recently undergone reclassification, with several new genera being defined. This division was necessary as the original genus Lactobacillus was very diverse, and the different species exhibited very different characteristics. The new genera include:

  • Lactobacillus
  • Lacticaseibacillus
  • Lactiplantibacillus
  • Levilactobacillus
  • Limosilactobacillus
  • Loigolactobacillus
  • Paralactobacillus
  • Pediococcus

This reclassification helps to better understand and categorize the diversity within this group of bacteria.

Dominance in Probiotic Products

Lactobacilli are widespread in probiotic products and often dominate the offerings. This dominance comes from the history of probiotics and their early development, which is closely linked to fermented foods. Lactobacilli are particularly effective in fermentation and were therefore recognized early on as beneficial bacteria in food production.

Relevance for Infants

Although Lactobacilli predominate in many probiotic products, they are less relevant for infants than Bifidobacteria. This is mainly because they cannot effectively utilize HMOs, a key component in infant nutrition. Bifidobacteria, especially strains like B. infantis, are better adapted to the needs of infants as they can metabolize HMOs, thus contributing to the development of a healthy gut microbiome.


Lactobacilli are important probiotic bacteria with a long history in fermentation and in probiotic products. However, their ability to settle in the human gut is limited, especially compared to Bifidobacteria, which play a larger role in the nutrition and health of infants

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