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To evaluate the physicochemical cell surface and adhesive properties of selected probiotic strains for human use.Probiotic strains, Bifidobacterium longum B6, Lactobacillus acidophilus ADH, Lactobacillus paracasei, Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG, Lactobacillus brevis, Lactobacillus casei, Leuconostoc mesenteroides and Pediococcus acidilactici were tested for the physicochemical properties of cell surfaces and the adhesion abilities against foodborne pathogens. Bif. longum B6 (53·6%) and Lact. rhamnosus GG (46·5%) showed the highest hydrophobicity, while the least affinity to xylene was observed in Ped. acidilactici (10·4%). Bifidobacterium longum B6 showed the strongest coaggregation phenotype with Listeria monocytogenes (53·0%), Shigella boydii (42·0%) and Staphylococcus aureus (45·9%). Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG had the strong binding ability to Caco-2 cells and effectively inhibited the adhesion of L. monocytogenes, Salmonella Typhimurium, Sh. boydii and Staph. aureus to Caco-2 cells. The hydrophobicity was highly correlated with coaggregative abilities and competitive inhibition, suggesting a good relationship between in vitro adhesion and in vivo colonization.The results suggest that Bif. longum B6 and Lact. rhamnosus GG can be candidate probiotics available for human consumption.Because the use of probiotic strains has been more concerned with their beneficial effects in the GI tract, it is essential to examine the potential of probiotic strains based on the physicochemical properties in terms of bacterial-binding and adhesion capabilities.