The effects of different gaseous atmospheres were determined on the maximum specific growth rate (mumax) and end-product formation by Brochothrix thermosphacta ATCC 11509T, Lactobacillus viridescens SMRICC 174 and Lactobacillus sp. SMRICC 173 (homofermentative). The highest mumax-values for Lact. viridescens (0.47/h) and Broc. thermosphacta (0.49/h) were obtained in air. Under anaerobic conditions mumax was reduced, an atmosphere containing CO2 alone giving the greatest reduction. Lactobacillus sp. 173 did not grow in air or N2. Aerobic growth was obtained by adding peroxidase while anaerobic growth occurred in the presence of 5-20% CO2. Carbon dioxide alone reduced the growth rate. All test organisms produced mainly lactic acid anaerobically. Lactobacillus viridescens also produced ethanol while Broc. thermosphacta produced small amounts of ethanol and formic acid. With O2 present, the number of end-products increased for all organisms. Lactobacillus sp. 173 produced small amounts of acetic acid and acetoin together with lactic acid. Oxygen induced acetic acid production in Lact. viridescens and Broc. thermosphacta. Aerobically, Broc. thermosphacta also produced a large amount of acetoin and smaller amounts of 2,3-butanediol, iso-valeric acid and iso-butyric acid. The production of lactic acid by Broc. thermosphacta was completely prevented under strictly aerobic conditions. All test organisms consumed O2 during aerobic growth. Hydrogen peroxide was produced by Lact. viridescens and Lactobacillus sp. 173.