Lactobacillus casei (Lacticaseibacillus casei)
Lactobacillus casei (Lacticaseibacillus casei) is a species of probiotic bacteria. In this article you will find the answers to the following questions about L. casei:
What is Lactobacillus casei?
The Lactobacillus casei species contains gram-positive, rod-shaped, non-sporulating (non-spore-forming) non-motile, anaerobic bacteria. These particular strains have been developed and studied by food and health scientists and are often used to ferment foods such as cheese and yoghurts. This species has some very well-documented strains among its number, including Lactobacillus casei DN-114001 and Lactobacillus casei Lbc80r. As of April 2020, L. casei has been officially reclassified to Lacticaseibacillus casei (Zheng J. et al., 2020).
Strains belonging to the L. casei species may be isolated from milk, dairy products, and vegetables but also from the human reproductive and gastrointestinal tract, which accounts for their large use as probiotics (M. Gobbetti and F. Minervini, 2014).
What are the benefits of Lactobacillus casei?
- Production of antimicrobial substances - Bacteriocins are antimicrobial and produced by many organisms including lactic acid bacteria. L. casei displays antimicrobial ability against gram-positive and gram-negative pathogenic and antibiotic-resistant bacteria, thus supporting the growth of beneficial microbes and maintaining gut homeostasis. (Ullah N. et al., 2017).
- Enhances gut barrier function – L. casei prevents impaired barrier function of intestinal epithelial cells. The exact role probiotics play in epithelial barrier function is not well understood but when gut cells were pre-treated with L. casei before undergoing induced cytokine dysfunction, they provided a protective effect (Soo Han D et al., 2010).
- Reduces the adhesion of pathogens – L. casei competes with selective groups of pathogens for adhesion to intestinal surfaces, thus taking up more room on the gut lining and leaving less space for pathogens to inhabit and grow (Y.-K. Lee and K.-Y. Puong, 2007).
- Modulation of the immune system – Some strains of L. casei have demonstrated their ability to alter the composition of the gut and modulate the human innate immune system. Lactobacillus casei DN-114001 has been extensively trialled for immune support and L. casei Shirota has been shown to increase the activity of natural killer (NK) cells which target several types of tumours and other infectious cells (Reale M. et al., 2011).
In addition, there are strains of L. casei that have been researched particularly in women’s health and pregnancy. You can find out more about the best Probiotics for Pregnancy and Which is the Best Probiotic Supplement for Women? over on our sister site, Probiotics Learning Lab.
What is Lactobacillus casei fermentation?
As with all Lactobacilli, the bacteria within this species produce lactic acid when fermenting sugars in the intestines, which lowers the pH in their environment; however, unlike some of the other species in the Lactobacilli genus, L. casei can survive in a wider range of pH levels and temperatures, which means it is more adaptable and can survive in a variety of locations. For this reason, L. casei is widely used commercially in the fermentation process of dairy products.
Which probiotic has Lactobacillus casei?
Due to the efficacy of this species, L. casei strains are widely used in probiotic supplements; among the most extensively studied strains are Lactobacillus casei Shirota and Lactobacillus casei DN-114001. They have been particularly well studied for immune support and digestive symptoms such as constipation and diarrhoea.
You can read more about the research and outcomes on their strain entry pages here: Lactobacillus casei Shirota and Lactobacillus casei DN-114001.
L. paracasei is not the same as L. casei, there are many other species in the Lactobacillus genus – you can read about Lactobacillus paracasei and others in the Probiotics Database.
Key takeaways for Lactobacillus casei
- Lactobacillus casei is officially known as Lacticaseibacillus casei; it contains well-studied strains within the species and is often used in food production to ferment cheese and yoghurt.
- The benefits of L. casei include supporting the growth of beneficial microbes, protecting the gut lining and reducing the adhesion of pathogens; other benefits are strain-specific.
- One of the most well researched strains is Lactobacillus casei Shirota which has been widely studied to support digestive and immune health.
For more insights and professional updates on probiotics, please visit the Probiotic Professionals pages.
M. Gobbetti, F. Minervini, (2014). Encyclopedia of Food Microbiology (Second Edition). 2nd ed. USA: Academic Press. 432-438.
Y.-K. Lee and K.-Y. Puong. (2007). Competition for adhesion between probiotics and human gastrointestinal pathogens in the presence of carbohydrate. British Journal of Nutrition. 88 (1), S101–S108.
Lee Y. and Salminen S., (2009), Handbook of Probiotic and Prebiotics. 2nd edition, Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons.
Holzapfel W.H. et al., (2001), ‘Taxonomy and important features of probiotic microorganisms in food and nutrition’. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 73:365S-373S.
Reale M, et al., (2011), ‘Daily Lactobacillus casei Shirota intake increases natural killer cell activity in smokers’. British Journal of Nutrition, 108(2):308-314.
Dong Soo Han, Gyomoon-Dong, Guri-Si, Gyeonggi-Do. (2010). Lactobacillus casei prevents impaired barrier function in intestinal epithelial cells. Journal of pathology, microbiology, and immunology. 4 (7), 471-701.
Niamat Ullah, Xuejiao Wanga, Jin Wua Yan Guo, Hanjing Gec, Tengyu Lia, Saleem Khan, Zhixi Li, Xianchao Feng . (2017). Purification and primary characterization of a novel bacteriocin, LiN333, from Lactobacillus casei, an isolate from a Chinese fermented food. LWT. 84 (5), 867-875.
Zheng J, Wittouck S. et al., (2020) 'A taxonmonic note on the genus Lactobacillus: Description of 23 novel genera, emended description of the genus Lactobacillus Beijerinck 1901, and union of Lactobacillaceae and Leuconostocaceae'. Int.J.Syst.Evol.Microbiol, 70(4): 2782-2858. DOI: 10.1099/ijsem.0.004107
Information on this species was gathered by Joanna Scott-Lutyens BA (hons), DipION, Nutritional Therapist; and Kerry Beeson, BSc (Nut.Med) Nutritional Therapist.