The effect of a mixture of organisms (a probiotic mixture) comprising Bacillus, Lactobacillus, Streptococcus, Clostridium, Saccharomyces, and Candida (10(7-8) colony-forming units/g rice bran of each component) on delta6-desaturase activity in liver microsomes was compared with those of Lactobacillus acidophilus and Streptococcus faecalis. There were four treatment groups. Each group of these rats received rice bran (control), the mixture of organisms, L. acidophilus, or S. faecalis (30 g/kg) along with a fat- and cholesterol-enriched diet for 4 wk. The serum total cholesterol concentration of the group fed the mixture of organisms was reduced by 15-33% compared with the other groups at the end of the 4-wk feeding period (P<0.05). The proportion of palmitic acid in the serum phosphatidylcholine (PC) for the control group was significantly higher than those of the other groups. The proportion of arachidonic acid in the serum PC for the mixed-organism group was also significantly higher than those of the other groups. The proportion of arachidonic acid in the liver PC for the mixed-organism group was significantly higher than those of the control and S. faecalis groups. The ratio of arachidonic acid/linoleic acid was significantly higher in the liver PC of rats fed the mixed organisms compared with the control group (P<0.05). The delta6-desaturase activity in the liver microsomal fraction of the mixed-organism group was significantly higher than those of the other groups. The delta6-desaturase activity correlated positively with the ratio of arachidonic acid/linoleic acid of liver PC, the correlation coefficient (r) being 0.819 (P<0.001). The results indicate that the effect of the mixture of organisms was to increase delta6-desaturase activity and serum arachidonic acid and decrease cholesterol compared to the other organisms and control, but the mechanism whereby the enzyme activity was related to serum cholesterol does not appear to have been explored.