The survival of four strains of lactic acid bacteria in human gastric juice, in vivo and in vitro, and in buffered saline, pH 1 to 5, has been investigated. The strains studied include two Lactobacillus acidophilus strains, Lactobacillus bulgaricus, and Streptococcus thermophilus. In addition, the adhesion of these strains to freshly collected human and pig small intestinal cells and to pig large intestinal cells has been studied and the effect of milk on both survival and adhesion tested. As a result of these investigations, an in vitro test system for screening potential cultures for use as human dietary adjuncts can be developed. The ability to survive in gastric juice and to adhere varied significantly for the strains tested; L. acidophilus ADH survived and adhered better than the others while S. thermophilus survived and adhered poorly. For all strains, both survival and adhesion was enhanced by milk. As all strains adhered to some extent to both human and pig intestinal cells, the adhesion mechanism is probably a nonspecific attachment as opposed to other reported specific Lactobacillus adhesion to gastric tissue. From the survival and adhesion data it seems feasible to obtain elevated levels of viable Lactobacillus sp. in human intestine by careful selection of the bacterial strains ingested. Furthermore, the in vitro methods used here should be valuable to screen potential strains. The data presented here can then be correlated with human in vivo studies monitoring the beneficial effect of ingestion of these Lactobacillus.