The probiotic potential of IS Saccharomyces cerevisiae strains used for production of foods or bevel-ages or isolated from such, and eight strains of Saccharomyces cerevisiae var. boulardii, was investigated. All strains included were able to withstand pH 2.5 and 0.3% Ox-all. Adhesion to the nontumorigenic porcine jejunal epithelial cell line (IPEC-J2) was investigated by incorporation of H-3-methionine into the yeast cells and use of liquid scintillation counting. Only few of the food-borne S. cerevisiae strains exhibited noteworthy adhesiveness with the strongest levels of adhesion (13.6-16.8%) recorded for two isolates from blue veined cheeses. Merely 25% of the S. cerevisiae var. boulardii strains displayed good adhesive properties (16.2-28.0%). The expression of the proinflammatory cytokine IL-1α decreased strikingly in IPEC-J2 cells exposed to a Shiga-like toxin 2e producing Escherichia coli strain when the cells were pre- and coincubated with S. cerevisiae var. boulardii even though this yeast strain was low adhesive (5.4%), suggesting that adhesion is not a mandatory prerequisite for such a probiotic effect. A strain of S. cerevisiae isolated from West African sorghum beer exerted similar effects hence indicating that food-borne strains of S. cerevisiae may possess probiotic properties in spite of low adhesiveness. © 2004 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.