The bacteriocins produced by two lactic acid bacteria isolated from nonfermented fresh meat and fish, respectively, and exhibiting a remarkable antilisterial activity, were characterized. Bacteriocinogenic strains were identified as Enterococcus faecium and the maximum bacteriocin production by both strains was detected in the stationary phase of growth. The activity against Listeria monocytogenes was maintained in pH range of 3-7 and was stable in both strains after heating at 100 or 121 degrees C. The genes coding for enterocin P were detected, isolated, and sequenced in both E. faecium strains. They exhibited DNA/DNA homology in the 87.1-97.2% range with respect to the other four enterocin P genes reported so far. Three single nucleotide polymorphism events, silent at the amino acid level, were detected at nucleotide positions 45 (G/A), 75 (A/G), and 90 (T/C) in E. faecium LHICA 28-4 and may explain the differences reported for those loci in other enterocin P-producing E. faecium strains. This work provides the first description of enterocin P-producing E. faecium strains in nonfermented foodstuffs and, in the case of E. faecium LHICA 51, the first report of an enterocin P-producing strain isolated from fish so far.