A panel of 30 putative Mycoplasma fermentans strains, isolated from various sources including human, ovine and cell lines, were tested by a previously described polymerase chain reaction (PCR) to confirm their identity by amplification of a conserved 206 bp region of the insertion sequence IS1550. In addition, the application of another PCR based on the major part of the IS1550 element showed one or two products of different length (1144 and 1341 bp) enabling M. fermentans strains to be divided into two types designated as Type A and Type B. A PCR, which amplifies the macrophage activating lipopeptide gene (malp), supported the identification of all the strains as M. fermentans. Thirteen other species of Mycoplasma from human sources gave negative results in these tests, with the exception of Mycoplasma orale, which was detected by both IS1550-PCRs based on the major part and the conserved 206 bp region of the IS1550 element. This study suggests that all M. fermentans isolates possess both the IS1550 element and the malp gene. In contrast to the IS1550, the malp gene is shown to be species-specific and the use of a malp PCR described here could prove to be a useful adjunct to IS1550 detection as confirmation of the presence of M. fermentans in clinical material.