The strain Enterococcus faecium T136 produces two bacteriocins, enterocin A, a member of the pediocin family of bacteriocins, and a new bacteriocin termed enterocin B. The N-terminal amino acid sequences of enterocins A and B were determined, and the gene encoding enterocin B was sequenced. The primary translation product was a 71 aa peptide containing a leader peptide of the double-glycine type which is cleaved off to give mature enterocin B of 53 aa. Enterocin B does not belong to the pediocin family of bacteriocins and shows strong homology to carnobacteriocin A. However, sequence similarities in their leader peptides and C-termini suggest that enterocin B and carnobacteriocin A are related to bacteriocins of the pediocin family. Enterocins A and B had only slightly different inhibitory spectra, and both were active against a wide range of Gram-positive bacteria, including listeriae, staphylococci and most lactic acid bacteria tested. Both had bactericidal activities, but survival at a frequency of 10(-4)-10(-2) was observed when sensitive cultures were exposed to either bacteriocin. The number of survivors was drastically reduced when a mixture of the two bacteriocins was added to the cells.