Of 26 Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus strains isolated from yogurt, strains B2 and 22, which produce low levels (28 and 21 mg liter(-1), respectively) of extracellular polysaccharides (EPSs), and strains B3 and G12, which produce high EPS levels (211 and 175 mg liter(-1), respectively), were selected for further study. The two high EPS-producing strains showed a significant autoaggregation and coaggregation ability with Escherichia coli ATCC 11230 (P < 0.05). Moreover, the effect of bile was evaluated on autoaggregation and hydrophobicity. Autoaggregation and hydrophobicity of these L. delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus strains decreased after treatment with bile. Only the high EPS-producing L. delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus strain B3 showed greater autoaggregation (80%) and hydrophobicity (86%) than the other strains after bile treatment. When these strains were assessed for the inhibition of E. coli ATCC 11230 in coculture, L. delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus B3 completely inhibited E. coli during 24 and 48 h of incubation. This investigation showed that a high EPS production and coaggregation ability may be important in the selection of probiotic strains.