How probiotics are named

The Bioxyne Team

Alona Kraft

There are over 120 different species of Lactobacillus. The most famous ones are Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus casei, Lactobacillus reuteri and Lactobacillus fermentum. (We italicise their names as a scientific convention, for some reason).

In each species there are thousands of individual members referred to as “strains”. A bacterial strain has its strain name after the species name. So, Bioxyne’s probiotic is a strain of the Lactobacillus fermentum species. The strain is VRI-003, so its full name is Lactobacillus fermentum VRI-003.

To understand the relationship between a species and its strains, think about us humans. All seven billion of us on Earth are members of the Homo sapiens species. But we are all individually different, and are good at different things. The same is true with Lactobacillus acidophilus, and all the other Lactobacillus species. Some are really good for our health, and some aren’t. Just because you are a human doesn’t mean you can paint like Vincent van Gogh, or sing like Adele, or dance like Fred Astaire, right? Individual members of the human species have different talents and abilities. So it is with probiotics.

You can’t tell what the talents of a probiotic bacterial strain are by looking at it (under a microscope). Scientists have to test them in the lab and in people, before they can know whether they are going to be useful for health, or not. Many are useless. However, some are very useful.

Can it do the job? Checking the resume of a probiotic

In applying for a job, people prepare a resume. You wouldn’t employ someone who just walked in off the street without interviewing them or looking at their resume to see if they had the right qualifications or experience first, would you? Similarly, you shouldn’t buy a probiotic product without checking out the resume of the bacteria first.

Here are the things you should look for on a probiotic’s resume:

  • Name: What is the species and strain name? If it doesn’t have a strain name, you don’t know which of the thousands of possible members of that species are in the bottle
  • Where it comes from: For human health you want to have a probiotic that comes from a human (rather than from a cow or a plant) 
  • How it performs under stress: Look for evidence that it can get through the stomach acid and bile,and remain alive and kicking
  • It doesn’t have a criminal record: Check that it doesn’t cause disease when consumed
  • Has a track record and list of achievements:
    • Sticks to the walls of the intestinal tract
    • Is able to get rid of“bad” bacteria in the GI tract
    • Is able to demonstrate its health benefit credentials in clinical trials

Bioxyne’s patented probiotic Lactobacillus fermentum VRI-003 (or PCC® for short – PCC® stands for patented clinical culture) meets all these criteria – see the resume below.

That’s why we have selected PCC® as the key ingredient in our range of PCC® products for gastrointestinal and immune health.

This was part two of a four-part series about what probiotics are and why they’re good for you. Next up is ‘How probiotics work’, followed by ‘How to take your probiotics’.

Read part one: What are probiotics?


Name: Lactobacillus fermentum VRI-003

Nickname: PCC®

Origin: A human with robust gastrointestinal health

Career Objective: To boost gut and immune health of adults and infants through daily dosing of clinically trialled doses of PCC®.


University of New South Wales:

  • Certificate of High Survival in Stomach Acid and Bile
  • Certificate of Inhibition of Gastrointestinal Pathogens
  • Certificate of Binding to the Intestinal tract

Previous Experience in Humans:

2005: Clinical trial of PCC® showing improvement in symptoms of moderate to severe atopic dermatitis in infants

2008: Clinical trial of PCC® showing reduction in symptoms of respiratory tract infections in elite male athletes

2009: Clinical trial of PCC® showing boost in the immune response to the flu vaccine

2011: Clinical trial of PCC® showing reduction in symptoms of respiratory tract infections in elite male athletes

All of these trials confirmed that PCC® is safe for children and adults

Current Experience in Humans:

2016- present: Clinical trial of effect of PCC® on the gut microbiome of healthy adults

Current Employment:

  • Bioxyne Limited. Active ingredient in:
    • proTract® for Atopic Dermatitis
    • Progastrim® for gut health, and
    • Progastrim® + Vitamin C for colds
  • Pharmanex (NuSkin). Active ingredient in:
    • ProBioPCC

Contact details:


Dr Peter French, Director of Science, Bioxyne Limited, Sydney


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