Fourteen strains of lactic acid bacteria and species of Brochothrix, Carnobacterium, Enterococcus, Erysipelothrix, Kurthia and Listeria were examined using low molecular mass RNA (5S rRNA and tRNA) profiles. These profiles were developed on denaturing polyacrylamide gels. Gel strengths between 9 and 14% were tested to improve resolution of distinct bands for densitometrical analysis. Profiles generated on 12% gels proved to be the best for scanning. Scans of class 2 tRNAs by densitometry showed a characteristic profile for each genus. In the case of Lactobacillus each species studied gave a unique profile. The technique of low molecular mass RNA profiling may provide a useful means for identifying different bacteria from ecosystems such as meats.