The aim of this study was to evaluate the use of the phenylalanyl-tRNA synthase alpha subunit (pheS) and the RNA polymerase alpha subunit (rpoA) partial gene sequences for species identification of members of the genus Lactobacillus. Two hundred and one strains representing the 98 species and 17 subspecies were examined. The pheS gene sequence analysis provided an interspecies gap, which in most cases exceeded 10 % divergence, and an intraspecies variation of up to 3 %. The rpoA gene sequences revealed a somewhat lower resolution, with an interspecies gap normally exceeding 5 % and an intraspecies variation of up to 2 %. The combined use of pheS and rpoA gene sequences offers a reliable identification system for nearly all species of the genus Lactobacillus. The pheS and rpoA gene sequences provide a powerful tool for the detection of potential novel Lactobacillus species and synonymous taxa. In conclusion, the pheS and rpoA gene sequences can be used as alternative genomic markers to 16S rRNA gene sequences and have a higher discriminatory power for reliable identification of species of the genus Lactobacillus.