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A feeding trial was carried out with turkey poults, which were fed a diet containing 10(10) viable probiotic E. faecium NCIB 10415 cells/kg feed. Samples of the intestinal tract were analyzed for lactate, colony forming units of total anaerobic bacteria, lactic acid bacteria, enterobacteria and enterococci. Furthermore, metabolic activity of total eubacterial, lactobacilli and enterococci was recorded in selected RNA-extracts with specific ribosomal RNA oligonucleotide probes. Animals fed the probiotic diet showed continously increasing lactate concentrations throughout the sampling period up to day 42 of life. No correlation was found for colony forming units (cfu) of lactic acid bacteria, but metabolic activity of lactobacilli showed very close relation to continously increasing lactate concentrations. Throughout the feeding trial, enterococci in the control group continously increased to a maximum of 10(4) cfu/g wet weight, but 10-fold higher enterococci cfu were generally found in the treated group. However, rRNA content as measure for metabolic activity showed a drastic decline in both groups after high metabolic activities on day 7. This study shows that E. faecium NCIB 10415 (E. faecium SF68) stimulates other lactic acid bacteria in the small intestine, especially lactobacilli.