Lactobacillus plantarum is a non-gas-producing lactic acid bacterium that is generally regarded as safe (GRAS) with Qualified Presumption of Safety (QPS) status. Although traditionally used for dairy, meat and vegetable fermentation, L. plantarum is gaining increasing significance as a probiotic. With the newly acclaimed gut-heart-brain axis, strains of L. plantarum have proven to be a valuable species for the development of probiotics, with various beneficial effects on gut health, metabolic disorders and brain health. In this review, the classification and taxonomy, and the relation of these with safety aspects are introduced. Characteristics of L. plantarum to fulfill the criteria as a probiotic are discussed. Emphasis are also given to the beneficial functions of L. plantarum in gut disorders such as inflammatory bowel diseases, metabolic syndromes, dyslipidemia, hypercholesteromia, obesity, and diabetes, and brain health aspects involving psychological disorders.
Keywords: Lactobacillus plantarum; gut; gut-heart-brain axis; metabolic syndromes; psychobiotics.