The aim of this study was to develop a bio-preservation strategy for cold-smoked salmon (CSS) by the use of lactic acid bacteria previously selected for their capability to inhibit the growth of Listeria monocytogenes in the product. The spoiling potential of three Carnobacterium strains (Carnobacterium divergens V41, Carnobacterium piscicola V1 and SF668) was tested in sterile CSS blocks inoculated by 10(4-5) CFU g(-)(1) and stored under vacuum for 9 days at 4 degrees C followed by 19 days at 8 degrees C. C. divergens V41 grew a little faster than the other strains and none of the three carnobacteria showed any adverse effect on quality of the product, i.e. no off-odour detected by a trained panel, no total volatile basic nitrogen (TVBN) production, no acidification and no biogenic amine except a slight production of tyramine. An application on commercial CSS was tested by spraying C. divergens V41 (10(4-5) CFU g(-1)) on slices of four batches freshly processed in different smoke-houses. Microbial, chemical and sensory characteristics were weekly compared to a control during 4 weeks of vacuum storage. When the natural microflora was initially weak (two batches<20 CFU g(-1)), C. divergens V41 quickly reached 10(7-8) CFU g(-1) and a slight inhibition of endogenous Enterobacteriaceae, lactobacilli and yeasts was observed. The presence of C. divergens V41 was slightly detected (odour and flavour) but none of the sample was considered as spoiled by the sensory panel. When the natural microflora was initially high (2 batches>10(4-5) CFU g(-1)), no effect on the microflora, TVBN and biogenic amine production, nor on the sensory characteristics was observed in presence of C. divergens V41. In conclusion, bio-preservation of CSS using lactic acid bacteria such as C. divergens V41 is a promising way to inhibit the growth of pathogenic bacteria such as L. monocytogenes with low effect on the quality of the product.