The carbohydrate-binding specificities of the probiotic lactic acid bacterium Lactobacillus johnsonii La1 (a health-beneficial bacterial strain able to be incorporated into the human intestinal microflora) were investigated in vitro. First various soluble complex carbohydrates were tested as potential inhibitors of the strain adhesion onto Caco-2 intestinal epithelial cells, and then bacterial binding to glycolipids immobilized on TLC plates was probed. Two major carbohydrate-binding specificities of Lactobacillus johnsonii La1 were identified. A first one for an Endo-H treated yeast cell wall mannoprotein carrying mainly O:-linked oligomannosides, and a second one for the gangliotri- and gangliotetra-osylceramides (asialo-GM1). Similar carbohydrate-binding specificities are known to be expressed on cell surface adhesins of several enteropathogens, enabling them to adhere to the host gut mucosa. These findings corroborate the hypothesis that selected probiotic bacterial strains could be able to compete with enteropathogens for the same carbohydrate receptors in the gut.