Abstract Pyrrolnitrin (PRN) and pyoluteorin (PLT) are broad-spectrum antibiotics produced by several strains of Pseudomonas and Burkholderia species. Both antibiotics play an important role in the suppression of multiple plant pathogenic fungi. Primers were developed from conserved sequences and amplified prnD and pltC fragments from 18 Pseudomonas and four Burkholderia spp. of worldwide origin that produce either PRN or PLT or both. Subsequent RFLP (restriction fragment length polymorphisms) analysis of the 438-bp pltC fragment showed no polymorphisms among PLT-producing Pseudomonas strains. Polymorphisms within the 786-bp prnD fragment, however, allowed the assessment of the diversity among PRN-producing Pseudomonas and Burkholderia spp. to a level similar to that obtained by three 10-mer primers in random amplified polymorphic DNA analysis. Phylogenetic analysis of 16S rDNA sequences of strains representative of PRN-producing Pseudomonas and Burkholderia species correlated well with their taxonomic status. Phylogenetic relationships inferred from each of the four prn genes and from the complete sequence of the prn biosynthetic locus were similar to 16S rDNA-based phylogeny for most strains, except for Burkholderia pyrrocinia DSM 10685. Both RFLP analysis and comparison of the prn gene sequences showed that B. pyrrocinia DSM 10685 was more closely related to PRN-producing Pseudomonas strains, suggesting that lateral gene transfer may have occurred. Colony hybridization and PCR with PRN- and PLT-specific probes and primers showed that Pseudomonas and Burkholderia spp. harboring the prnD and pltC gene were not present at detectable levels on roots of wheat grown in five agricultural soils collected in The Netherlands, two of them being naturally suppressive to Gaeumannomyces graminis var. tritici. These results suggest that PRN- and PLT-producing Pseudomonas and Burkholderia sp. do not contribute to the natural suppressiveness found in these Dutch take-all decline soils.