PURPOSE: Specific bacteria are believed to play an important role in chronic periodontitis. Although extensive microbial analyses have been performed from subgingival plaque samples of periodontitis patients, systemic analysis of subingival microbiota has not been carried out in a Korean population so far. The purpose of this study was to investigate the prevalence of 29 putative periodontal pathogens in Korean chronic periodontitis patients and evaluate which pathogens are more associated with Korean chronic periodontitis. MATERIAL AND METHODS: A total of 86 subgingival plaque samples were taken from 15 chronic periodontits(CP) patients and 13 periodontally healthy subjects in Korea. CP samples were obtained from the deepest periodontal pocket (>3 mm probing depth[PD]) and the most shallow periodontal probing site (< or =3 mm PD) in anterior tooth and posterior tooth, respectively, of each patient. Samples in healthy subjects were obtained from 1 anterior tooth and 1 posterior tooth. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) of 16S ribosomal DNA (rDNA) of subgingival plaque bacteria was performed. Detection frequencies(% prevalence) of 29 putative periodontal pathogens were investigated as bacterium-positive sites/total sites RESULTS: With the exception of Olsenella profuse and Prevotella nigrescens, the sites of diseased patients generally showed higher prevalence than the healthy sites of healthy subjects for all bacteria analyzed. Tanerella forsythensis (B.forsythus), Campylobacter rectus, Filifactor alocis, Fusobacterium nucleatum, Porphyromonas endodontalis and Porphyromonas gingivalis were detected in more than 80% of sites with deep probing depths in CP patients. In comparison between the sites (deep or shallow PD) of CP patients and the healthy sites of healthy subjects, there was statistically significant difference(P <0.05) of prevalence in T.forsythensis (B.forsythus), C.rectus, Dialister invisus, F.alocis, P.gingivalis and Treponema denticola. CONCLUSION: Our results demonstrate that the four putative periodontal pathogens, T.forsythensis (B.forsythus), C.rectus, P.gingivalis and F.alocis are closely related with CP patients in the Korean population.