The colonization potential of lactobacilli was investigated using small intestinal mucus extracts from 35-d-old pigs. Mucus-secreting tissue from the small intestine of piglets was gently rinsed to remove contents and then shaken in buffer to release mucus from the surface. Numbers of lactobacilli in different portions of the small intestine of 35-d-old pigs were enumerated. Also, mucus isolated from the small intestine of pigs was investigated for its capacity to support the growth of lactobacilli. Results indicated that Lactobacillus spp. inhabit the mucus layer of the small intestine and can grow and adhere to ileal mucus. From adhesion studies of Lactobacillus fermentum 104R to mucus analysed by Scatchard plot, it is suggested that an associating system showing positive cooperativity is involved. Proteinaceous compounds(s) involved in the adhesion to mucus were detected in the spent culture fluid from the growth of strain 104R. Studies are continuing in order to identify and characterize the adhesion-promoting protein(s). From the data, it is proposed that lactobacilli colonize the mucus layer of the small intestine of pigs.