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Clin Infect Dis. 2015 May 15;60 Suppl 2:S98-107. doi: 10.1093/cid/civ072.

Lactobacillus species: taxonomic complexity and controversial susceptibilities.

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R. M. Alden Research Laboratory, Culver City David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Los Angeles, California.
R. M. Alden Research Laboratory, Culver City.


The genus Lactobacillus is a taxonomically complex and is composed of over 170 species that cannot be easily differentiated phenotypically and often require molecular identification. Although they are part of the normal human gastrointestinal and vaginal flora, they can also be occasional human pathogens. They are extensively used in a variety of commercial products including probiotics. Their antimicrobial susceptibilities are poorly defined in part because of their taxonomic complexity and are compounded by the different methods recommended by Clinical Laboratory Standards Institute and International Dairy Foundation. Their use as probiotics for prevention of Clostridium difficile infection is prevalent among consumers worldwide but raises the question of will the use of any concurrent antibiotic effect their ability to survive. Lactobacillus species are generally acid resistant and are able to survive ingestion. They are generally resistant to metronidazole, aminoglycosides and ciprofloxacin with L. acidophilus being susceptible to penicillin and vancomycin, whereas L. rhamnosus and L. casei are resistant to metronidazole and vancomycin.


Lactobacillus acidophilus; Lactobacillus casei; Lactobacillus rhamnosus; Lactobacillus susceptibility; Probiotics

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