A rapid competitive PCR method was developed to quantify DNA on the LightCycler. It rests on the quantitative information contained in the melting curves obtained after amplification in the presence of SYBR Green I. Specific hybridization probes are not required. Heterologous internal standards sharing the same primer binding sites and having different melting temperatures to the natural PCR products were used as competitors. After a co-amplification of known amounts of the competitor with a DNA-containing sample, the target DNA can be quantified from the ratio of the melting peak areas of competitor and target products. The method was developed using 16S rDNA fragments from Streptococcus mutans and E. coli and tested against existing PCR-based DNA quantification procedures. While kinetic analysis of real-time PCR is well established for the quantification of pure nucleic acids, competitive PCR on the LightCycler based on an internal standardization was found to represent a rapid and sensitive alternative DNA quantification method for analysis of complex biological samples that may contain PCR inhibitors.