Oligonucleotide microarrays offer a fast, high-throughput alternative for the parallel detection of microbes from virtually any sample. The application potential spreads across most sectors of life sciences, including environmental microbiology and microbial ecology; human, veterinary, food and plant diagnostics; water quality control; industrial microbiology, and so on. The past two years have witnessed a rapid increase of research in this field. Many alternative techniques were developed and validated as seen in 'proof-of-concept' articles. Publications reporting on the application of oligonucleotide microarray technology for microbial diagnostics in microbiology driven projects have just started to appear. Current and future technical and bioinformatics developments will inevitably improve the potential of this technology further.