A Bacillus subtilis mutant is described which forms heat-resistant spores only in the presence of external dipicolinic acid (DPA). The mutation, dpa-1, is localized in a new sporulation locus, linked to pyrA. The dpa-1 strain is unable to synthesize DPA but can incorporate external DPA. The amount of DPA incorporated, the frequency of heat-resistant spores and their degree of resistance are all dependent on the concentration of external DPA. Spores of dpa- 1 strains exhibit normal resistance to most chemicals, including octanol and chloroform, but not to ethanol, pyridine, phenol and trichloroacetic acid. Complete resistance to the latter group depends on DPA. DPA incorporation is slow and apparently requires an energy supply but not protein synthesis. Direct involvement of DPA in the heat-resistance of the spores is suggested. Thin sections of DPA-less spores exhibit clearly visible cytoplasmic membranes and ribosomes. These structures are absent or less visible in the core of spores obtained with added DPA.