The antagonistic effect exerted towards Salmonella typhimurium by the flora issued from conventional chickens was studied in gnotobiotic animals. In germfree chickens and mice inoculated with S. typhimurium, the highest bacterial counts were observed in ceca, and were not significantly different in either host. The protection afforded by the inoculation of cecal flora issued from a conventional chicken was more effective when this flora was inoculated first into germfree chickens than when it was given only after inoculation with S. typhimurium. Administration of a cecal flora from a 15-day-old chick to gnotobiotic mice and chicken resulted in the inhibition of a further intestinal colonization by S. typhimurium in both hosts. Sixteen strains were isolated among the predominant populations of the fecal flora from chicken flora recipient mice. Association of 14 strains of strictly anaerobic bacteria with 2 strains of Escherichia coli and Streptococcus faecium only decreased the number of S. typhimurium in the ileum of gnotobiotic mice, but not in their cecum. Anaerobe cultures were obtained from 10(-6) and 10(-8) dilutions prepared from the fecal flora of gnotobiotic recipient mice. Antagonistic bacteria were present only in cultures from the 10(-6) dilution. Cecal concentrations of volatile fatty acids were shown not to be the sole factor implicated in the antagonistic effect against S. typhimurium.