When exposed to excess heavy metals, plants induce phytochelatins and related peptides (all designated as PCAs). Thus, when hairy roots of horseradish (Armoracia rusticana) were exposed for 3 days to cadmium (1 mM) along with reduced glutathione (2 mM), PCA induction occurred. Moreover, a new family of thiol peptides was detected as well as the previously known PCAs, as revealed by postcolumn-derivatization HPLC. Two were isolated and their structures were identified as (gamma-Glu-Cys)n-Gln (n = 3 and 4) by electrospray ionization-mass spectrometer spectra, this being confirmed by chemical synthesis of the peptides. These new analogs constitute the sixth PCA family identified to date.