Genistein is an isoflavone that is known to be contained in soybean. It was proved that genistein plays a pivotal role in homeostasis in the human body. In the course of screening for useful alpha-glucosidase inhibitors, we isolated and identified genistein as a candidate for alpha-glucosidase inhibitor from fermentation broths of a Streptomyces sp. Genistein was shown to be a reversible, slow-binding, non-competitive inhibitor of yeast alpha-glucosidase with a K(i) value of 5.7x10(-8) M when the enzyme mixture was pretreated with genistein. These results show a possibility that genistein could be a useful tool for metabolic disorders.