The consumption of yogurt has been associated with a reduced incidence of colon cancer in population groups. Bioactive peptides produced during bacterial fermentation may alter the risk of colon cancer via modification of cell proliferation in the colon. Using our previously described cell culture model system, we have isolated a yogurt fraction that decreases cell proliferation. Yogurt was fractionated using 10,000- and 500-Da membrane dialysis. When the yogurt fraction was incubated with IEC-6 or Caco-2 cells, cell division was decreased compared with control treatments, as determined by thymidine incorporation. Cell division was not inhibited in response to a similarly produced milk fraction or in response to solutions of lactic acid. The determination of cell kinetics by flow cytometry revealed a decrease in the number of cells in the initial growth phase in response to the yogurt fraction for the IEC-6 cells, but not the Caco-2 cells. Alpha-Lactalbumin inhibited cell division of both cell lines, but beta-casein did not.