NC_017214:54558 Bifidobacterium animalis subsp. lactis BB-12 chromosome, complete
Host Lineage: Bifidobacterium animalis; Bifidobacterium; Bifidobacteriaceae; Bifidobacteriales; Actinobacteria; Bacteria
General Information: Representatives of this genus naturally colonize the human gastrointestinal tract (GIT) and are important for establishing and maintaining homeostasis of the intestinal ecosystem to allow for normal digestion. Their presence has been associated with beneficial health effects, such as prevention of diarrhea, amelioration of lactose intolerance, or immunomodulation. The stabilizing effect on GIT microflora is attributed to the capacity of bifidobacteria to produce bacteriocins, which are bacteriostatic agents with a broad spectrum of action, and to their pH-reducing activity. Most of the ~30 known species of bifidobacteria have been isolated from the mammalian GIT, and some from the vaginal and oral cavity. All are obligate anaerobes belonging to the Actinomycetales, branch of Gram-positive bacteria with high GC content that also includes Corynebacteria, Mycobacteria, and Streptomycetes. Bifidobacterium animalis and Bifidobacterium lactis were originally considered to be separate species. Recent studies evaluating the DNA relatedness and phenotypic similarities of these species has determined that they represent a single species.