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J Appl Microbiol. 2007 Apr;102(4):1107-15.

Species diversity and relative abundance of vaginal lactic acid bacteria from women in Uganda and Korea.

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Department of Oral Biology, University of Illinois, Chicago, IL 60612, USA.



Lactobacilli play an important role in maintaining vaginal health of women. The aim of this study was to compare the species richness and relative abundance of Lactobacillus and other lactic acid bacteria in women of two geographically distant countries, Uganda and Korea.


Vaginal samples were obtained from two women populations in Uganda and Korea. The Lactobacillus Rogosa SL agar was used for initial isolation of lactic acid bacteria. After phenotypic analyses, the 16S rRNA gene was amplified by polymerase-chain reaction and analysed by the BLAST program and phylogenetic tree construction. A total of 338 (128 Korean and 210 Ugandan) vaginal lactic acid bacterial strains were isolated, including five genera: Lactobacillus, Leuconostoc, Pediococcus, Streptococcus and Weissella. While Lactobacillus crispatus was common in both populations, Lactobacillus fermentum was common only in Korean women, and Lactobacillus gasseri, Lactobacillus reuteri and Lactobacillus vaginalis only in Ugandan women. Among other lactic acid bacteria, Weissella was more common in Ugandan, and Pediococcus in Korean women. All Weissella strains produced hydrogen peroxide, and all Pediococcus strains inhibited Candida species.


Although many lactic acid bacteria colonize women, their species distributions may be different in women of geographically separated communities.


The knowledge of species richness and relative abundance of vaginal lactic acid bacteria, including Lactobacillus, Pediococcus and Weissella, may lead to the design of better probiotic products as bacterial replacement therapy.

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