Recent molecular studies on endophytic bacterial diversity have revealed a large richness of species. Endophytes promote plant growth and yield, suppress pathogens, may help to remove contaminants, solubilize phosphate, or contribute assimilable nitrogen to plants. Some endophytes are seedborne, but others have mechanisms to colonize the plants that are being studied. Bacterial mutants unable to produce secreted proteins are impaired in the colonization process. Plant genes expressed in the presence of endophytes provide clues as to the effects of endophytes in plants. Molecular analysis showed that plant defense responses limit bacterial populations inside plants. Some human pathogens, such as Salmonella spp., have been found as endophytes, and these bacteria are not removed by disinfection procedures that eliminate superficially occurring bacteria. Delivery of endophytes to the environment or agricultural fields should be carefully evaluated to avoid introducing pathogens.