We have analysed the diversity of culturable sulphate-reducing bacteria (SRB) in Zostera noltii colonized sediments from Bassin d'Arcachon (France). Four organic substrates have been tested as well as the combination of H2 and CO2 to select for lithotrophic SRB. All energy sources were supplied in parallel cultures that were amended with yeast extract plus NH4+ and prepared without a source of combined nitrogen, the latter to select for diazotrophic SRB. The 10 different enrichment media were inoculated from serial dilution of rhizosphere samples. The highest dilution cultures yielding positive growth (i.e. 10-7) were studied by molecular techniques (16S rDNA clone libraries, RISA and ARDRA). Lactate as a single organic substrate in combination with a source of combined nitrogen resulted in selection of members of the Desulfovibrionaceae. Surprisingly, when lactate was added without a source of combined nitrogen, Desulfobacteriaceae were selected. A strong influence of the presence or absence of combined nitrogen was also observed for the substrates sucrose and fructose. Whereas the liquid culture growing on sucrose and NH4+ systematically yielded 16S rDNA clones related to an environmental unidentified green sulphur bacterium (OPS185), on plates we were able to isolate a SRB related to Desulfovibrio dechloracetivorans, which likely represents a non-described species. Under diazotrophic conditions, sucrose selected for SRB clones related to the cluster formed by Desulfovibrio zosterae, Desulfovibrio salexigens and Desulfovibrio bastinii. The corresponding isolate obtained on plates showed only low sequence similarity with this closest neighbour (93.8%), and we suggest that it also represents a non-described species. Surprisingly, a 16S rDNA sequence corresponding to an archaeon, i.e. a non-extremophile Crenoarchaeota, was retrieved from several of the SRB enrichment cultures even after subsequent transfers.