BACKGROUND & OBJECTIVE: Lactobacilli are depleted in vagina of women suffering from recurring episodes of bacterial vaginosis with vaginal pH >or=5. With the objective of making available probiotic lactobacilli for replenishment in such women, a study was undertaken to isolate and characterize the Lactobacilli present in women with eco-healthy vagina in Delhi. No information is so far available on the species of Lactobacilli resident in vagina of women in India. METHODS: Vaginal swabs were taken from 80 women with informed consent after ethical approval and grown in MRS broth. Gram-positive, catalase-negative bacilli generating about 200 bp amplicon by PCR with Lactobacillus genus specific primers were further characterized by employing species specific primers followed by sequencing of 16S rDNA. Isolates of the same species were differentiated by random amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) profiles. RESULTS: The predominant species isolated were L. reuteri present in 26 (32.5%) women, L. fermentum in 20 (25%), and L. salivarius in 13 (16.25%) women. Sequencing of 16S rDNA of 20 isolates showed that except for two isolates of L. plantarum, sequences of the remaining agreed well with PCR identification. None of the isolates had similar RAPD profile. INTERPRETATION & CONCLUSION: Our findings showed lactobacilli species present in healthy vagina of women in India differ from those reported from other countries. This information would be useful to development of probiotic tablets seeking to replenish the missing lactobacilli for reproductive health of women in India.
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