ABSTRACT: A total of 192 lactic acid bacteria were isolated from 2 types of naturally fermented dry sausages at 3 different stages of the ripening process in order to select the most suitable strains as starter cultures in dry-cured sausage manufacture according to their technological characteristics such as glucose fermentation, lactic and acetic acid production, and proteolytic, lipolytic, and antimicrobial activities. Identification of the isolates revealed that 31.2% were Pediococcus pentosaceus, 26.9%Lactococcus lactis, 18.6%Pediococcus acidilactici, 17%Lactobacillus brevis, and sporadic isolates of Leuconostoc mesenteroides, Lactobacillus plantarum, and Lactobacillus curvatus. Most of the strains did not produce gas from glucose and showed the capacity to produce lactic acid rapidly. Some 25% of the strains were able to degrade tributyrin (esterase activity), but none showed lipolytic activity against olive oil and pork fat. Only 3 strains of P. acidilactici showed weak proteolytic activity against myofibrillar or sarcoplasmic proteins. Also, the same strains showed antimicrobial activity against Listeria monocytogenes. Nine strains with the best properties were preselected and tested for biogenic amine production. The results showed that two of the strains, identified as P. acidilactici by polymerase chain reaction, had the potential to be further tested as starter cultures in pilot processing of Iberian sausages.