Considering that several health promoting properties are associated with kefir consumption and a reliable probiotic product requires a complete identification of the bacterial species, the present work evaluates several proved markers of probiotic potential of eleven isolates of homofermentative lactobacilli isolated from kefir grains and molecular identification and genotypic diversity. Using restriction analysis of amplified ribosomal DNA (ARDRA) and analysis of the 16S–23S rRNA internal spacer region we confirmed that all homofermentative lactobacilli belong to the species Lactobacillus plantarum. RAPD-PCR analysis allowed the discrimination of lactobacilli in five clusters. All isolates exhibited high resistance to bile salt. High survival after one hour of exposure to pH 2·5 was observed in Lb. plantarum CIDCA 8313, 83210, 8327 and 8338. All isolates were hydrophilic and non autoaggregative. Isolate CIDCA 8337 showed the highest percentage of adhesion among strains. All tested lactobacilli had strong inhibitory power against Salmonella typhimurium and Escherichia coli. Seven out of eleven isolates showed inhibition against Sal. enterica and five isolates were effective against Sal. gallinarum. Only CIDCA 8323 and CIDCA 8327 were able to inhibit Sal. sonnei. We did not find any correlation between the five clusters based on RAPD-PCR and the probiotic properties, suggesting that these isolates have unique characteristics.