Background: The use of fossil carbon sources for fuels and petrochemicals has serious impacts on our environment and is unable to meet the demand in the future. A promising and sustainable alternative is to substitute fossil carbon sources with microbial cell factories converting lignocellulosic biomass into desirable value added products. However, such bioprocesses require availability of suitable and efficient microbial biocatalysts, capable of utilizing C5 sugars and tolerant to inhibitory compounds generated during pretreatment of biomass. In this study, the performance of a collection of lactic acid bacteria was evaluated regarding their properties with respect to the conversion of lignocellulosic feedstocks. The strains were examined for their ability to utilize xylose and arabinose as well as their resistance towards common inhibitors from pretreated lignocellulosic biomass (furan derivatives, phenolic compounds, weak acids). Results: Among 296 tested Lactobacillus and Pediococcus strains, 3 L. pentosus, 1 P. acidilactici and 1 P. pentosaceus isolates were found to be both capable of utilizing xylose and arabinose and highly resistant to the key inhibitors from chemically pretreated lignocellulosic biomass. When tested in broth with commonly found combinations of inhibitors, the selected strains showed merely 4%, 1% and 37% drop in growth rates for sugarcane bagasse, wheat straw and soft wood representatives, respectively, as compared to Escherichia coli MG1655 showing decreased growth rates by 36%, 21% and 90%, respectively, under the same conditions. Conclusion: The study showed that some strains of Lactobacilli and Pediococci have the potential to be used as production platforms for value-added products from pretreated lignocellulosic biomass. Selected Lactobacilli and Pediococci strains were able to tolerate the key inhibitors in higher concentrations compared to E. coli; in addition, as these isolates were also capable of fermenting xylose and arabinose, they constitute good candidates for efficient lignocellulosic feedstock bioconversions.