The aim of this study was to screen two cheese starter cultures and cheese-borne microbial communities with the potential to produce biogenic amines in cheese during ripening. Bacteria of the genera Enterococcus and Lactobacillus and coliform bacteria were isolated from Dutch-type semi-hard cheese at the beginning of the ripening period. Statistically significant counts of bacterial isolates were screened for the presence of specific DNA sequences coding for tyrosine decarboxylase (tyrDC) and histidine decarboxylase (hDC) enzymes. The PCR analysis of DNA from 14 Enterococcus and 3 Lactobacillus isolates confirmed the presence of the targetted DNA sequences. Simultaneously, 13 tyrDC- and 3 hDC-positive isolates were grown in decarboxylase screening medium and this was followed by HPLC analysis of the produced tyramine and histamine. Conventional and molecular taxonomic analyses of the above-mentioned isolates identified the following species: Enterococcus durans (7 strains), Enterococcus faecalis (3 strains), Enterococcus faecium (1 strain), Enterococcus casseliflavus (3 strains), Lactobacillus curvatus (1 strain), Lactobacillus lactis (1 strain) and Lactobacillus helveticus (1 strain). All of the above Enterococcus and two of the Lactobacillus strains originated from contaminating microbial communities. The L. helveticus strain, which was tyrosine decarboxylase-positive and exhibited tyramine production, originated from starter culture 1 used for cheese production. Comparison of partial tyrDC sequences of positive Enterococcus isolates revealed 89% sequence similarity, and that of hDC-positive Lactobacillus isolates revealed 99% sequence similarity.