Enterococcus faecalis 226 NWC, isolated from natural whey cultures utilized as starter in water-buffalo Mozzarella cheese manufacture, produces a bacteriocin, designated Enterocin 226 NWC, which is inhibitory to Listeria monocytogenes. Plasmid analysis of E. faecalis 226 NWC showed a single 5.2-kb plasmid, pEF226. In conjugation experiments, pEF226 was transferred into a plasmid-free strain of E. faecalis JH2-2. The transfer required direct cell-to-cell contact and was not inhibited by Dnase. The identity of conjugation was confirmed by digestion with SmaI restriction endonuclease and subsequent pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) of the genomic DNA of E. faecalis 226, E. faecalis JH2-2 and of the isolates after the mating. The data indicate that the ability of E. faecalis 226 NWC to produce the bacteriocin is linked to the 52-kb conjugative plasmid pEF226.