White-rot fungi are important wood-decomposing organisms in forest ecosystems. Their ability to colonize and decompose woody resources may be strongly influenced by wood-inhabiting bacteria that grow on easily utilizable compounds e.g. oligomers of wood-polymers released by fungal enzymes. However, so far, it is not known how white-rot fungi deal with the presence of potential competing bacteria. Here, the effects of two white-rot fungi, Hypholoma fasciculare and Resinicium bicolor, on the numbers and composition of bacteria colonizing sterile beech wood blocks from forest soil are reported. Both total numbers (microscopic counts) and the numbers of cultivable wood-inhabiting bacteria were considerably lower in wood blocks that became colonized by the white-rot fungi than in control blocks. This points to the fungi out-competing the opportunistic bacteria. The presence of white-rot fungi resulted in a change in the relative abundance of families of cultivable bacteria in wood and also in a change of denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis patterns of directly amplified 16S rRNA gene fragments. Analysis of the bacterial community structure in soil adhering to exploratory mycelium (cords) indicated that fungal species-specific effects on bacterial community composition were also apparent in this fungal growth phase.