Bacillus coagulans (B. coagulans) is a bacterium used in many industrial applications. Some strains are used as probiotics. Until 1974 it was classified as Lactobacillus sporogenes. You may still see that species listed on probiotic products, but those manufacturers are not being current nor truthful.
Like other Bacillus species that are sometimes called "soil organisms", it is more-or-less rod-shaped and has the ability to form endospores, very tough outer shells, when conditions are unfavorable. When conditions are favorable for growth, the endospores germinate into vegetative cells which can rapidly multiply.
B. coagulans exists either as single organisms or in short chains, and forms colonies. It is one of the Bacillus species that is motile; that is, it can move independently because it has a whip-like propelling feature. It grows very well in aerobic conditions, but can function in a low-oxygen environment, too.
It produces lactic acid, but is not considered to be a lactic-acid bacterium (LAB) such as Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, Streptococcus, Lactococcus, Pediococcus, etc. because it forms endospores and the LAB do not.
B. coagulans was first recorded at a canned evaporated milk facility in Iowa where it had coagulated milk. The strain encountered, B. coagulans Hammer, became the type strain for the species to which all other strains are compared.
Firstly, not all strains of B. coagulans are probiotics. I can tell you that in Bacillus species in general, it is very, very important to know the exact strain you are taking. A generic term such as “B. coagulans” on a label is not sufficient.
Concerns about Bacillus species in general are covered here.
Since the benefits and actions of strains in this species are so strain-specific, no general statements can be made. I can help you decide if this species may suit your needs through nutrition consultations. Additionally, you may wish to review the information on these strains:
Updated resources coming soon as of 3-1-16.
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