Re-classification of the Lactobacillus genus into 25 genera

A new paper, recently published in the International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Biology, announces name changes for most of the bacteria that were historically grouped within the genus Lactobacillus. Members of the Lactobacillus genus are among the most popular bacteria found in consumer probiotic products and fermented foods.


More than 250 species have been assigned to the genus Lactobacillus in recent decades. Now, a group of 15 scientists from all over the world have reclassified Lactobacillus species into 25 genera, including the emended genus Lactobacillus (which is now restricted to the former Lactobacillus delbrueckii group), Paralactobacillus and 23 novel genera: Acetilactobacillus, Agrilactobacillus, Amylolactobacillus, Apilactobacillus, Bombilactobacillus, Companilactobacillus, Dellaglioa, Fructilactobacillus, Furfurilactobacillus, Holzapfelia, Lacticaseibacillus, Lactiplantibacillus, Lapidilactobacillus, Latilactobacillus, Lentilactobacillus, Levilacatobacillus, Ligilactobacillus, Limosilactobacillus, Liquorilactobacillus, Loigolactobacilus, Paucilactobacillus, Schleiferilactobacillus, and Secundilactobacillus). These new genera group species that share whole genome phylogeny, ecology, and physiological and metabolic properties. This will facilitate the understanding of common mechanisms that could mediate probiotic health benefits.


As Prof. Dr. Peter Vandamme, director of the BCCM/LMG Bacteria Collection and 1 of the co-authors of the paper further explains :

We have known for decades that the genus Lactobacillus was excessively heterogeneous and corresponded more with a bacterial family than a genus. This heterogeneity impeded research aimed at understanding the ecology, physiology, evolution and applications of this important group of bacteria. The authors believe that this new taxonomy will facilitate further research and discovery. The diversity of lactobacilli – the generic term remains useful to designate organisms in all 25 genera that are currently classified as Lactobacillus species – is likely much greater than currently known as a majority of strains were isolated from humans, domesticated animals, and food. Sampling of more diverse plant or environmental sources, and of wild animals will likely extend our perspective on the phylogenetic and metabolic diversity of these most useful organisms.”


The BCCM/LMG Bacteria Collection holds a large biodiversity of lactic acid bacteria comprising about 200 of the reclassified Lactobacillus species cited in this paper.

All these species names have now been updated in our catalogue according to their new taxonomical status.

Want to find out more about the available strains and their newly allocated species names? We are pleased to invite you for exploring our online catalogue



Zheng J., Wittouck S., Salvetti E. et al., (2020). A taxonomic note on the genus Lactobacillus: Description of 23 novel genera, emended description of the genus Lactobacillus Beijerink 1901, and union of Lactobacillaceae and Leuconostocaceae.

A handy web tool was developed by researchers in the project, where the previous names and the new names of the bacteria can be searched.


Date of publication: 
Tuesday, June 9, 2020