On the basis of phenotypic and DNA-DNA reassociation studies, strain CCUG 34545T has been considered to represent a distinct Lactobacillus curvatus subspecies, Lactobacillus curvatus subsp. melibiosus. However, in several independent studies dealing with Lactobacillus sakei and L. curvatus strains, the subspecies division of L. curvatus has been found to be controversial. The original study distinguishing the two subspecies within both L. curvatus and L. sakei also lacked 16S rRNA gene sequence analyses. Therefore, the taxonomic position of L. curvatus subsp. melibiosus CCUG 34545T was re-evaluated in a polyphasic taxonomy study that included 16S rRNA gene sequence analysis, DNA-DNA reassociation, DNA G + C content determination, numerical analysis of ribotypes and whole-cell protein patterns and the examination of some fundamental phenotypic properties. The results obtained indicate that strain CCUG 34545T and its duplicate, CCUG 41580T, are Lactobacillus sakei subsp. carnosus strains and that L. curvatus subsp. melibiosus is a later synonym of L. sakei subsp. carnosus.