Lactobacillus casei Zhang is a novel strain that was screened out of koumiss collected in Inner Mongolia, and our previous research showed that L. casei Zhang has health benefits such as cholesterol-reducing and immunomodulating effects. The fermentation characteristics of L. casei Zhang in soymilk and bovine milk and the transit tolerance of L. casei Zhang in fermented milk products during refrigerated storage for 28 d were assessed. A faster decrease in pH and faster growth of L. casei Zhang during fermentation were observed in soymilk compared with bovine milk at various inoculation rates, probably because of the low pH buffering capacity of soymilk. The fermented bovine milk samples had much higher final titratable acidity (TA) values (between 0.80 and 0.93%) than the soymilk samples (between 0.40 and 0.46%). Dramatic increases in TA values in the fermented soymilk samples during storage were observed, and the TA values of the fermented soymilk samples changed from <0.56% to values between 0.86 and 0.98%. On the other hand, only slight increases in TA were observed in the bovine milk samples during the 28 d of storage. The survival rates of freshly prepared cultures of L. casei Zhang in simulated gastric juice at pH 2.0 and 2.5 were 31 and 69%, respectively, and the delivery of L. casei Zhang through fermented soymilk and bovine milk significantly improved the viability of L. casei Zhang in simulated gastric transit. Lactobacillus casei Zhang showed good tolerance to simulated gastric juice and intestinal juice in the fermented soymilk and bovine milk samples, and maintained high viability (>10(8) cfu/g) during storage at 4 degrees C for 28 d. Our results indicated that both soymilk and bovine milk could serve as vehicles for delivery of probiotic L. casei Zhang, and further research is needed to elucidate the mechanism of the change in pH and TA of L. casei Zhang in fermented milk samples during fermentation and storage and to understand the difference between soy- and milk-based systems.