Oligonucleotide probes specific for Carnobacterium and Leuconostoc species were constructed from the variable regions of 16S rRNA obtained from the literature and sequence data bases. The probes were hybridized with crude nucleic acid extract from 32 type strains of lactic acid bacteria (LAB) commonly found on meat. Two of the probes hybridized only to the four Carnobacterium species whereas the other two hybridized only to five of the six Leuconostoc species tested. The probes were also hybridized with nucleic acids from unknown strains of LAB. The identification was consistent with the results of biochemical tests used to characterize the two genera.