LAPs and TAPs Bowel Microbes Determine the Outcome in Man-Microbe Conflicts

LAPs and TAPs Determine the Outcome in Infections

Majid Ali, M.D.

In mid-1980s, I introduced the term LAPs (lactic acid-producing) as an abbreviation for health-promoting bowel microbes that produce lactic acid and other immune-strengthening substances. I chose the term TAPS (toxin-producing) for the gut microbes that injured all bosy organs under varying conditions.

LAPs build strong defenses in many ways. TAPs are equally versatile in their production of a very large number of toxins, including: (1) mycotoxins (mold toxins); (2) oxygen-depriving (vaso-constrictive) amines such as histamine, tyramine, agmatine and cadaverine; (3) ammonia and related compounds; (4) phenols and related phenolics; (5) tryptophan metabolites and other toxic amino acids; (6) certain harmful steroids; and (6) some carcinogenic substances. Regrettably, this area has received limited research funding. Undoubtedly, future research will uncover a host of as yet undetected bacterial and fungal toxins and metabolic villains.

LAPs/TAPs dynamics are profoundly influenced by food choices. American and British individuals show overgrowth of some TAPs, including bacteroides, firmicutes, clostridia, and others. Japanese and many indigenous populations produced much smaller quantities of such toxins. It is now well established that these differences are due to chemicalized foods and abundance of fats and animal flesh foods in the former.

Microbes Are Master Chemists

Microbes execute an enormous number of biochemical reactions. Farmers employ them to turn compost into fertilizer long before microbiologists learned about healthful and noxious aspects of their metabolism, including: (1) inactivation of digestive enzymes (trypsin and chymotrypsin); (2) destruction of enzymes located on the surface of cells lining the gut; (3) deconjugation of hormones such as estrogen and bile acids; (4) denaturation of bile steroids; (5) breakdown of food flavonoids; (6) hydrogenation of polyunsaturated fatty acids in food; and (7) conversion of some compounds into carcinogens.

List of Major LAPs and TAPs  

Below is a list below the three genera of LAPs and several genera of TAPs that most frequently populate the bowel ecosystem.





Certain bacteroides








Peptococci, Peptostreptococcus

About 30 species of LAP microbes have been identified. Some important members of these three groups (L, Lactobacillus; B, Bifidobacterium; S, Streptococcus) include the following:

L. acidophilus B. bifidum

L. bulgaricus B. adolescentis

L. lactis B. infantis

L. casei B. breve

L. helveticus B. longus

S. faecium

S. thermophilous

Food production technology threaten LAP microbes and promotes the growth of TAPs. . In addition, alcohol, nicotine, various pharmacologic agents, and highly processed and “preserved” foods have a negative impact on lactic-acid producers.

Normal fecal flora in man includes the following: Bacteroidaceae (Bacteroides and Fusobacteria), Eubacteria, Lactobacilli, Bifidobacteria, Veillonellae, Acidaminococci, Megasphaerae, Peptococcaceae (Ruminococci, Peptococci and Peptostreptococci), Clostridia (C. perfrigens and other species), Enterobacteriaceae, aerobic Lactobacilli, Streptococci, Staphylococci, and yeast and fungi (often used interchangeably)

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