How do you pronounce...?

Jacob Collyer-Smith Lifestyle Writer

Probiotics are wonderful things, but they are notoriously tricky to pronounce.

We don’t mind if you are not able to pronounce them, and perhaps you prefer a more unique way of saying these long and tricky names; we are certainly not here to judge. If you are interested in learning more about pronunciation however, our very own Steve has put together a helpful chart (see below). We find pronunciation can be helpful when looking for specific type of bacteria genus, species or strain, as it can all get rather confusing. Find out more by reading the article: What are probiotics?

Before we embark on explaining the phonetic pronunciations of our bacteria, we thought it might be helpful to explain exactly where bacteria names come from. Bacteria names are usually derived from Greek or Latin words and the species are named according to their occurrence, role, any special characteristics etc. For example, Escherichia Coli: Escherichia (straight rod) coli (from colon), and Lactobacillus lactis: Lactobacillus (bacillus from milk) lactis (milk sugar - lactose fermented).

Bacteria nomenclature (the method of naming) follows some simple rules; such as the species names always comes after the genus. So, how do we clarify genus and species? A genus is a group of related or similar organisms, and can be referred to as a 'family'. A genus contains one or more species. Examples of probiotic genera include Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus. Healthcare professionals can read more about Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli on the Probiotics Database. 'Species' refers to a type of microorganism existing within a genus or family. For example, acidophilus is the name of a species within the Lactobacillus genus. Different species within the same genus (eg. acidophilus and rhamnosus) are generally considered to be more closely related to each other than species from other genera (for example acidophilus is not closely related to the infantis species in the Bifidobacteria genus). Confused? We hope not.

See our chart below to help explain how we pronounce our bacteria names. We hope it helps a bit.

Probiotic Genus
Spelling How Do I Say It?
Lactobacillus Lack-toe-bass-ill-us
Lactococcus Lack-toe-kok-us
Bifidobacterium Biff-idd-owe-back-tee-ree-um
Saccharomyces Sack-a-row-my-sees
Probiotic Species
Spelling  How Do I Say It?
Acidophilus  Acid-off-ill-us
Lactis Lack-tiss
Casei  Cass-eye
Bifidum Biff-idd-um
Rhamnosus Ram-no-sis
Longum Lon-gum
Infantis In-fant-iss
Breve Breev
Paracasei Para-cass-eye
Boulardii Boo-lar-dee
Spelling                                       How Do I Say It? 
Fructooligosaccharides Fruck-toe-oli-go-sack-a-rides

Everyone is unique and may have their own slightly different way of pronouncing the probiotic names. I recall a time where I certainly could have benefited from pronouncing my words more clearly. When chatting with a lady, and discussing Fructooligosaccharides and their benefits as a prebiotic, she later questioned me (in a polite yet understandably baffled manner) why I was advising her to go on a tractor ride (Fructooligosaccharide/tractor ride?!).

If you are interested in learning more about prebiotics, read the article: What are prebiotics?

To learn more, read the following articles:

Gut health - all you need to know

Is it ok to take probiotics every day?

We hope this helps! For more information on individual strains, healthcare practitioners can see the Probiotics Database.