A large-scale screen of some 7,000 presumptive lactic acid bacteria (LAB), isolated from animal, human, or plant origin, identified 1,149 isolates with inhibitory activity against the food-spoilage mould Penicillium expansum. In excess of 500 LAB isolates were subsequently identified to produce a broad spectrum of activity against P. expansum, Penicillium digitatum, Penicillium notatum, Penicillium roqueforti, Rhizopus stolonifer, Fusarium culmorum, Aspergillus fumigatus and Rhodotorula mucilaginosa. Partial 16S rRNA sequencing of 94 broad spectrum isolates revealed that the majority of antifungal producers were strains of Lactobacillus plantarum. The remaining population was composed of Weissella confusa and Pediococcus pentosaceous isolates. Characterization of six selected broad-spectrum antifungal LAB isolates revealed that antifungal activity is maximal at a temperature of 30 degrees C, a pH of 4.0 and is stable across a variety of salt concentrations. The antifungal compound(s) was shown to be neither proteinaceous nor volatile in nature. P. pentosaceous 54 was shown to have protective properties against P. expansum spoilage when applied in pear, plum and grape models, therefore representing an excellent candidate for food-related applications.