When analysing raw milk for the presence of Bacillus sporothermodurans, 11 Bacillus strains were isolated which could be differentiated from known Bacillus, Brevibacillus and Paenibacillus spp. by different primer specificity in PCR experiments, indicating that they probably belong to Bacillus species as yet undescribed. Using repetitive element sequence based PCR (REP-PCR), these 11 strains could be clearly distinguished from B. sporothermodurans as well as from each other. Eighty-five B. sporothermodurans strains were characterized by a typical REP-pattern. Using REP-PCR combined with separation on non-denaturing polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis and silver staining, individual B. sporothermodurans strains could be discriminated, which was not possible by methods previously published.