Pasteuria penetrans is a mycelial, endospore-forming, bacterial parasite that has shown great potential as a biological control agent of root-knot nematodes. Considerable progress has been made during the last 10 years in understanding its biology and importance as an agent capable of effectively suppressing root-knot nematodes in field soil. The objective of this review is to summarize the current knowledge of the biology, ecology, and biological control potential of P. penetrans and other Pasteuria members. Pasteuria spp. are distributed worldwide and have been reported from 323 nematode species belonging to 116 genera of free-living, predatory, plant-parasitic, and entomopathogenic nematodes. Artificial cultivation of P. penetrans has met with limited success; large-scale production of endospores depends on in vivo cultivation. Temperature affects endospore attachment, germination, pathogenesis, and completion of the life cycle in the nematode pseudocoelom. The biological control potential of Pasteuria spp. have been demonstrated on 20 crops; host nematodes include Belonolaimus longicaudatus, Heterodera spp., Meloidogyne spp., and Xiphinema diversicaudatum. Pasteuria penetrans plays an important role in some suppressive soils. The efficacy of the bacterium as a biological control agent has been examined. Approximately 100,000 endospores/g of soil provided immediate control of the peanut root-knot nematode, whereas 1,000 and 5,000 endospores/g of soil each amplified in the host nematode and became suppressive after 3 years. Key words: bacterium, Belonolaimus longicaudatus, biological control, biology, cyst nematode, dagger nematode, ecology, endospore, Heterodera spp., Meloidogyne spp., nematode, Pasteuria penetrans, review, root-knot nematode, sting nematode, Xiphinema diversicaudatum.