A strain of Lactobacillus plantarum, DSMZ 12028 (Deutsch Sammlung von Mikroorganismen und Zellkulturen), isolated from a Portuguese dry fermented sausage, 'chourico', was found to produce true lipase, producing free fatty acids from triolein (olive oil). This enzymatic activity was found in whole cells, but was negligible in comparison to lipolytic activity in culture supernatant. Therefore, only extracellular activity was studied. The effect of pH, temperature and glucose concentration on extracellular lipase production was studied in continuously stirred tank reactors, the first time this technology has been used to study the production of this enzyme in lactobacilli. Maximum lipase production was achieved at a pH of 5.5 and 30 °C and was kept at a significant level over a wide range of dilution rates (0.05-0.4 h-1); the production of lipase was still significant for low pH values, temperature and glucose concentration, conditions that are close to the ones present during chourico ripening. The effect of glucose concentration was also studied in a batch system. The control of lipase production was found to be related both to glucose concentration in the medium and to the growth rate/dilution rate. Glucose concentration was found to be important for fast lipase production, although it did not influence the maximum lipase activity reached in a batch culture.