The plant rhizosphere is a dynamic environment in which many parameters may influence the population structure, diversity and activity of the microbial community. Two important factors determining the structure of microbial community present in the vicinity of plant roots are plant species and soil type. In the present study we assessed the structure of microbial communities in response to four plant species (i.e. maize (Zea mays L.), oat (Avena sativa L.), barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) and commercial grass mix) planted in soil with different land use history (i.e. arable land under crop rotation, maize monoculture and permanent grassland). Both factors, plant species and land use history, showed clear effects on microbial community and diversity as determined by PCR-DGGE fingerprinting with universal and group-specific bacterial primers. Moreover, we explored the rhizosphere effect of these plant species on the abundance of bacterial antagonists of the potato pathogen Rhizoct! onia solani AG3. The data showed that the abundance and taxonomic composition of antagonists differed clearly between the different plants. The highest percentages of antagonists were found in maize and grass rhizosphere. When antagonistic Pseudomonas populations were compared, the highest, abundance and diversity of antagonists were detected in barley and oat rhizospheres, as compared to maize and grass rhizosphere. The results obtained in our study demonstrate clearly that plant species and soil type are two important factors affecting the structure of total bacterial, Pseudomonas and Bacillus community.