Inoculation with Azospirillum brasilense exerts beneficial effects on plant growth and crop yields. In this study, a comparative analysis of maize (Zea mays) root inoculated or not inoculated with A. brasilense strains was performed in two soils. Colonization dynamics of the rhizobacteria were tracked in various root compartments using 16S rRNA-targeted probes and 4′,6′diamidino-2-phenylindole staining, and the structure of bacterial populations in the same samples was analyzed by denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) of polymerase chain reaction products of the 16S rRNA gene. Based on whole cell hybridization, a large fraction of the bacterial community was found to be active in both the rhizoplane-endorhizosphere and rhizosphere soil compartments, in both soil types. A DGGE fingerprint analysis revealed that plant inoculation with A. brasilense had no effect on the structural composition of the bacterial communities, which were also found to be very similar at the root tip and at zones of root branching. However, rhizobacterial populations were strongly influenced by plant age, and their complexity decreased in the rhizoplane-endorhizosphere in comparison to rhizosphere soil. A clone library generated from rhizosphere DNA revealed a highly diverse community of soil and rhizosphere bacteria, including an indigenous Azospirillum-like organism. A large proportion of these clones was only distantly related to known species.