The identification of vaginal Lactobacillus species and the demographic and microbiologic characteristics of women colonized by these species

J Infect Dis. 1999 Dec;180(6):1950-6. doi: 10.1086/315109.


Lactobacillus acidophilus has been reported to be the predominant vaginal species. Vaginal lactobacilli isolated from 215 sexually active women were identified using whole-chromosomal DNA probes to 20 American Type Culture Collection Lactobacillus strains. Most women were colonized by L. crispatus (32%), followed by L. jensenii (23%), a previously undescribed species designated L. 1086V (15%), L. gasseri (5%), L. fermentum (0.3%), L. oris (0.3%), L. reuteri (0.3%), L. ruminis (0.3%), and L. vaginalis (0.3%). H2O2 was produced by 95% of L. crispatus and 94% of L. jensenii isolates, compared with only 9% of L. 1086V. Colonization by L. crispatus or L. jensenii was positively associated with being white (P<.001), age >/=20 years (P=.05), barrier contraceptive usage (P=.008), and lower frequency of bacterial vaginosis (P<.001) and gonorrhea (P=.03). L. crispatus and L. jensenii, not L. acidophilus, are the most common species of vaginal lactobacilli.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Contraception
  • DNA Probes
  • Female
  • Gonorrhea / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen Peroxide / metabolism*
  • Lactobacillus / classification*
  • Lactobacillus / isolation & purification*
  • Lactobacillus / metabolism
  • Species Specificity
  • Vagina / microbiology*
  • Vaginosis, Bacterial / epidemiology


  • DNA Probes
  • Hydrogen Peroxide