The availability of molecular probing technology in recent years has facilitated investigation of microbial community composition during biotreatment of organic wastes. Particularly, it has allowed the study of microbial culture stability and correlation between stability and treatment performance. However, most studies to date have only addressed mixed cultures and there is limited information regarding single strain stability. Here we have investigated the microbial community dynamics in two bioreactors, each inoculated with a pure bacterial strain capable of degrading a recalcitrant substrate, namely Xanthobacter aut. GJ10 degrading 1,2-dichloroethane (DCE) and Burkholderia sp. JS150 degrading monochlorobenzene (MCB). Universal and strain specific 16S rRNA oligonucleotide probes were designed and used to follow strain stability. The bioreactor fed with DCE was functionally stable and the percentage of GJ10 cells in the community remained high (around 95% of total cells) throughout, even after introduction of foreign microorganisms. The bioreactor fed with MCB was also functionally stable, but in contrast to the DCE bioreactor, probing results revealed the disappearance of strain JS150 from the bioreactor within a week. The difference in behavior between the two systems is attributed to the specific pathway required to degrade DCE.