Tarhana is a traditional fermented product produced from a mixture of spontaneously fermented yogurt and wheat flour in Turkey. The aims of the present study were to enumerate and identify for the first time by molecular biology-based methods predominant lactic acid bacteria (LAB) isolated during processing of Tarhana. Samples were collected from eight different regions of Turkey. In order to explore the relationship between raw material and the microbiology of Tarhana, yogurt and wheat flour were also analyzed. A total of 226 Gram-positive and catalase-negative isolates were obtained from MRS, M17 and SBM (Slanetz and Bartley Medium). The isolates were grouped and identified using a combination of pheno- and genotypic methods including rep-PCR fingerprinting [(GTG)(5) primer], multiplex PCR, 16S rRNA gene sequencing and carbohydrate assimilation profiling. Pediococcus acidilactici were found to constitute 27% of the isolates, 19% were identified as Streptococcus thermophilus, 19% as Lactobacillus fermentum, 12% as Enterococcus faecium, 7% as Pediococcus pentosaceus, 5% as Leuconostoc pseudomesenteroides, 4% as Weissella cibaria, 2% as Lactobacillus plantarum, 2% as Lactobacillus delbrueckii spp. bulgaricus, 2% as Leuconostoc citreum, 1% as Lactobacillus paraplantarum and 0.5% as Lactobacillus casei. The different production sites investigated all had individual LAB profiles, but with P. acidilactici and S. thermophilus being isolated from the majority of samples. The main source of A acidilactici and S. thermophilus was found to be the yogurt. (c) 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.