This study aims to evaluate potentially beneficial properties of 20 strains of vaginal lactobacilli isolated from women in Tucumán, Argentina, by determining acid and hydrogen peroxide production and auto-aggregation ability. The microorganisms were characterised genetically by amplified ribosomal 16S-DNA restriction analysis (ARDRA). Lactobacillus gasseri and L. rhamnosus were the predominant species identified among the 20 vaginal lactobacilli strains. Most achieved low pH values after 12 h incubation at 37 degrees C and produced hydrogen peroxide in static culture. However, pH decrease and semi-quantitative hydrogen peroxide production of most homofermentative lactobacilli were significantly higher than those of heterofermentative lactobacilli. Of the 20 strains studied, only three demonstrated remarkable auto-aggregation patterns. Four strains were selected for possible use in a probiotic product for vaginal application; however, further in vitro study of other potentially probiotic characteristics is required before attempting clinical trials.