Plant endophytes are microbes that colonize plant internal tissues and are ubiquitously associated with plants. In this study, seven endophytic bacterial strains, 665L2, 725L2, 725R2, 92R2, 728R3, 728R4 and 2416T3, were isolated from seeds of five healthy maize varieties (Zea mays L.) and all identified as Bacillus velezensis by polyphasic taxonomy based on 16S rRNA and gyrA gene phylogenetic analysis. In addition, according to the genotyping results from random amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD), 665L2, 725L2, 725R2 and 92R2 belonged to the same strain, while 728R3 and 2416T3 belonged to another strain. Pathogenic fungal strains 4, 5 and 6 were isolated from three diseased maize varieties (Zea mays L.), and they were identified as Talaromyces funiculosus, Penicillium oxalicum and Fusarium verticillioides, respectively, by polyphasic taxonomy based on morphological identification, ITS rDNA and bio-control gene phylogenetic analyses. Seven endophytic bacterial Bacillus velezensis strains had favourable antagonistic activity, and antagonistic testing was carried out against the three pathogenic strains, Talaromyces funiculosus 4, Penicillium oxalicum 5 and Fusarium verticillioides 6. Biological control lipopeptide antibiotic genes (bioA, bmyB, ituC, fenD, srfAA, srfAB, yngG and yndJ) were amplified using specific primers, and they were found in the seven endophytic bacterial Bacillus velezensis strains. This study provides a scientific basis for future research on the use of resistant endophytic bacterial resources to enhance crop production. Copyright © 2020 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.