Toxoplasma gondii differentially expresses two forms of lactate dehydrogenase in tachyzoites and bradyzoites, respectively, designated LDH1 and LDH2. Previously it was demonstrated that LDH1 and LDH2 share a unique structural feature with LDH from the malarial parasite Plasmodium falciparum (pLDH), namely, the addition of a five-amino acid insert into the substrate specificity loops. pLDH exhibits a number of kinetic properties that previously were thought to be unique to pLDH. In the present study, kinetic properties of LDH1 and LDH2 were compared with those of pLDH. LDH1 and LDH2 exhibit broader substrate specificity than pLDH. For both LDH1 and LDH2, 3-phenylpyruvate is an excellent substrate. For LDH2, 3-phenylpyruvate is a better substrate even than pyruvate. By comparison, pLDH does not utilize 3-phenylpyruvate. Both LDH1 and LDH2 can utilize the NAD analog 3-acetylpyridine adenine dinucleotide (APAD) efficiently, similar to pLDH. LDH1 and LDH2 are inhibited competitively by a range of compounds that also inhibit pLDH, including gossypol and derivatives, dihydroxynaphthoic acids, and N-substituted oxamic acids. The lack of substrate inhibition observed with pLDH is also observed with LDH2. By comparison, LDH1 differs from LDH2 in exhibiting substrate inhibition in spite of an identical residue (M163) at a cofactor binding site that is thought to be critical for production of substrate inhibition. For gossypol and gossylic iminolactone, but not the other gossypol derivatives tested, the in vitro inhibition of T. gondii LDH activity correlated with specific inhibition of T. gondii tachyzoite growth in fibroblast cultures.