Molecular characterization has been accomplished for five members of the peroxidase gene family in French bean. The most important of these, designated FBPI, corresponds to the isoform believed to be responsible for the apoplastic oxidative burst demonstrated by suspension-cultured cells in response to fungal elicitor. Identification was made by a complete match of six peptide sequences derived from the native protein to the translated sequence of the cDNA. Modelling of the surface structure in comparison with two other members of the peroxidase family did not reveal any unusual features which might account for its role in the oxidative burst. However, FBP1 when expressed in Pichia pastoris generated H2O2 using cysteine at pH 7.2, a specific property of the native protein when isolated from suspension-cultured cells. FBP1, together with other members of the family, were all induced in cell cultures by elicitor action although they all showed some expression in non-induced cultured cells. They were also expressed in all tissues examined with varying levels of intensity of detection in northern blots. This was confirmed by in situ hybridization and FBP1 expression was confirmed in tissues where it has been previously detected by immunolocalization methods. Assigning roles to individual peroxidases is an important goal and molecular identification of the oxidative burst peroxidase allows further exploration of the relative roles of the different systems involved in generating reactive oxygen species.