The d- and l-forms of lactate are important fermentation metabolites produced by intestinal bacteria but are found to negatively affect mucosal barrier function and human health. Both enantiomers of lactate can be converted with acetate into the presumed beneficial butyrate by a phylogenetically related group of anaerobes, including Anaerobutyricum and Anaerostipes spp. This is a low energy yielding process with a partially unknown pathway in Anaerobutyricum and Anaerostipes spp. and hence, we sought to address this via a comparative genomics, proteomics and physiology approach. We compared growth of Anaerobutyricum soehngenii on lactate with that on sucrose and sorbitol. Comparative proteomics revealed complete pathway of butyrate formation from sucrose, sorbitol and lactate. Notably, a gene cluster, lctABCDEF was abundantly expressed when grown on lactate. This gene cluster encodes a lactate dehydrogenase (lctD), electron transport proteins A and B (lctCB), nickel-dependent racemase (lctE), lactate permease (lctF) and short-chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase (lctG). Investigation of available genomes of intestinal bacteria revealed this new gene cluster to be highly conserved in only Anaerobutyricum and Anaerostipes spp. Present study demonstrates that A. soehngenii and several related Anaerobutyricum and Anaerostipes spp. are highly adapted for a lifestyle involving lactate plus acetate utilization in the human intestinal tract.