We examined the role of microorganisms in the degradation of the organophosphorus (OP) insecticide chlorpyrifos (CP) during kimchi fermentation. During the fermentation of kimchi, 30 mg L(-1) of CP was added and its stability assayed during fermentation. CP was degraded rapidly until day 3 (83.3%) and degraded completely by day 9. Four CP-degrading lactic acid bacteria (LAB) were isolated from kimchi fermentation in the presence of 200 mg L(-1) CP and were identified as Leuconostoc mesenteroides WCP907, Lactobacillus brevis WCP902, Lactobacillus plantarum WCP931, and Lactobacillus sakei WCP904. CP could be utilized by these four strains as the sole source of carbon and phosphorus. Coumaphos (CM), diazinon (DZ), parathion (PT), and methylparathion (MPT) were also degraded by WCP907, WCP902, WCP931, and WCP904 when provided as sole sources of carbon and phosphorus.