• Lactobacillus;
  • Vagina;
  • Profile

Abstract It was hypothesized that Lactobacillus acidophilus might not be the dominant aerobic or microaerophilic Lactobacillus species in the human vagina, and that the dominant isolates are likely to express a variety of properties associated with colonization. To examine the question, vaginal swabs were collected from 100 healthy premenopausal women and cultured to detect the dominant aerobic or microaerophilic isolates of Lactobacillus. Only eight species were detected, with Lactobacillus jensenii being the dominant colonizers in the highest number (35) of women. Twelve different plasmid profiles were found amongst the isolates, but there was no association between plasmids and vaginal colonization or hydrogen peroxide production. Of the strains tested, few were resistant to the spermicidal agent nonoxynol-9. The data identify species within which strains may possess properties associated with maintenance of a healthy vaginal ecology