The strain Lactobacillus helveticus DPC4571 has emerged as a promising flavor adjunct culture For Cheddar cheese given that it is consistently associated with improved flavor. The availability of the complete genome sequence of Lb. helveticus DPC4571 has enabled the search for the presence or absence of specific genes on the genome, in particular those of technological interest. Indeed, this analysis has facilitated a greater understanding into the functioning of lactic acid bacteria as a whole. The biochemical pathways of Lb. helveticus responsible for producing flavor compounds during cheese ripening are poorly understood but now with the availability of a complete genomic sequence are ripe for exploitation. Bioinformatic analysis of the genome of Lb. helveticus DPC4571 has revealed a plethora of genes with industrial potential including those responsible for key metabolic functions that contribute to cheese flavor development such as proteolysis, lipolysis, and cell lysis. In addition, it has been demonstrated that Lb. helveticus has the potential to produce bioactive peptides such as angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitory activity in fermented dairy products, demonstrating the therapeutic value of this species. A most intriguing feature of the genome of Lb. helveticus DPC4571 is the remarkable similarity in gene content with many intestinal lactobacilli, although originating from considerably different environments. Bioinformatic analysis demonstrated that 65 to 75% of genes were conserved between the commensal and dairy lactobacilli, which allowed key niche-specific gene sets to be described. This review focuses on the isolation, characterization, and exploitation of the Lb. helve-tic:us species with particular emphesis on taking into consideration recent genome sequence data for Lb. helve:limbs and other Lactobacillus species.