Puba or carimã is a Brazilian staple food obtained by spontaneous submerged fermentation of cassava roots. A total of 116 lactobacilli and three cocci isolates from 20 commercial puba samples were recovered on de Man, Rogosa and Sharpe agar (MRS); they were characterized for their antagonistic activity against foodborne pathogens and identified taxonomically by classical and molecular methods. In all samples, lactic acid bacteria were recovered as the dominant microbiota (7.86 ± 0.41 log10 CFU/g). 16S-23S rRNA ARDRA pattern assigned 116 isolates to the Lactobacillus genus, represented by the species Lactobacillus fermentum (59 isolates), Lactobacillus delbrueckii (18 isolates), Lactobacillus casei (9 isolates), Lactobacillus reuteri (6 isolates), Lactobacillus brevis (3 isolates), Lactobacillus gasseri (2 isolates), Lactobacillus nagelii (1 isolate), and Lactobacillus plantarum group (18 isolates). recA gene-multiplex PCR analysis revealed that L. plantarum group isolates belonged to Lactobacillus plantarum (15 isolates) and Lactobacillus paraplantarum (3 isolates). Genomic diversity was investigated by molecular typing with rep (repetitive sequence)-based PCR using the primer ERIC2 (enterobacterial repetitive intergenic consensus). The Lactobacillus isolates exhibited genetic heterogeneity and species-specific fingerprint patterns. All the isolates showed antagonistic activity against the foodborne pathogenic bacteria tested. This antibacterial effect was attributed to acid production, except in the cases of three isolates that apparently produced bacteriocin-like inhibitory substances. This study provides the first insight into the genetic diversity of Lactobacillus spp. of puba.