Endospores of Bacillus spp. were purified from three Sonoran desert soil samples by Chelex extraction and NaBr density gradient centrifugation and their UV resistances compared with that of B. subtilis strain 168. Natural spore populations exhibited tight adherence to soil particles which was not readily overcome by the extraction and purification procedure. It was observed that spores purified from soil exhibited 2-3 fold higher resistance to UV (as measured by the 90% lethal dose, LD90) than did B. subtilis strain 168 grown on NSM, a standard laboratory sporulation medium, and purified by the same extraction procedure. Cultivation of spore-forming bacteria isolated from soil on NSM resulted in production of spores with essentially identical UV resistance as strain 168, suggesting that spore UV resistance is influenced by the environment in which spores are produced.