Lactobacillus acidophilus
Sara Stephens

Lactobacillus acidophilus is commonly found it the intestines, vaginas, and mouths of many animals. L. acidophilus is gram positive, mesophilic, and rod shaped. L. acidophilus prefers to grow at approximately 30*C, and is therefore well suited to most mammals. L. acidophilus is also a facultative aerobe.

L. acidophilus is most commonly used in the production of dairy products and may be consumed orally. L. acidophilus ferments to create lactic acid. The presence of lactic acid then prevents other organisms from growing.  L. acidophilus is commonly used in yogurt. The L. acidophilus encourages the growth of other bacteria that help with indigestion. It can lower stomach pH to decrease acid reflux. In the intestine L. acidophilus helps break down dairy products to lactic acid, which is more easily absorbed by the body for nutrition. In the vagina L. acidophilus prevents the growth of harmful fungi, such as Candida albicans. L. acidophilus may also be used to treat yeast infections.

However, as with most common bacteria, L. acidophilus may be killed off with antibiotics or contraceptive creams. If the bowels are cleared of L. acidophilus sever diarrhea will occur.  This also allows for the growth of harmful bacteria. As a solution to this problem many doctors will prescribe a serving of yogurt so as to recolonize the gastrointestinal tract and discourage the growth of the harmful bacteria. L. acidophilus may also be used to lower cholesterol.

 

*Disclaimer - This report was written by a student participaring in a microbiology course at the Missouri University of Science and Technology. The accuracy of the contents of this report is not guaranteed and it is recommended that you seek additional sources of information to verify the contents.

 

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