Plasmid DNA was introduced by electroporation into Bacillus, Enterococcus, Lactobacillus, Lactococcus, Leuconostoc, Listeria, Pediococcus, Propionibacterium and Staphylococcus as an alternative to competent-cell or protoplast transformation. Plasmid-containing transformants were recovered in these recipients at frequencies ranging from 10(1) to 10(5) transformants micrograms-1 of pGK12. Several parameters of the protocol, including DNA concentration, voltage, plating regimen and electroporation buffers were evaluated to determine conditions that improved transformation frequencies for Lactobacillus acidophilus. Using optimized conditions, the following plasmids were introduced into L. acidophilus: pAMB1, pC194, pGB354, pGKV1, pSA3, pTRK13, pTV1 and pVA797. The ability to transfer plasmid DNA via eletroporation will greatly facilitate the application of recombinant DNA methodology and transposon technology to Gram-positive bacteria for cloning and analysis of significant genes.