Mice were treated orally with various antibiotics to determine which members of the indigenous intestinal microflora normally suppress Candida albicans colonization and dissemination from the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. The mice were given penicillin, clindamycin, vancomycin, erythromycin, or gentamicin for 3 days, and then challenged orally with C. albicans. Penicillin, clindamycin, and vancomycin, but not gentamicin or erythromycin, decreased the total anaerobic bacterial populations in the animals ceca, and increased the enteric bacilli population levels. All three of the former antibiotics allowed C. albicans to proliferate in the gut and, subsequently, disseminate from the GI tract to visceral organs. The ability of C. albicans to associate with intestinal mucosal surfaces was also tested. It was found that antibiotics which reduced anaerobic population levels, but not enteric bacilli or aerobes, also predisposed animals to mucosal association by C. albicans. It is suggested that the strictly anaerobic bacterial populations which predominate in the gut ecosystem are responsible for the inhibition of C. albicans adhesion, colonization and dissemination from the GI tract.