Metagenomics and related methods have led to significant advances in our understanding of the human microbiome. Members of the genus Lactobacillus, although best understood for essential roles in food fermentations and applications as probiotics, have also come to the fore in a number of untargeted gut microbiome studies in humans and animals. Even though Lactobacillus is only a minor member of the human colonic microbiota, the proportions of those bacteria are frequently either positively or negatively correlated with human disease and chronic conditions. Recent findings on Lactobacillus species in human and animal microbiome research, together with the increased knowledge on probiotic and other ingested lactobacilli, have resulted in new perspectives on the importance of this genus to human health.
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