Most aphids possess intracellular bacteria of the genus Buchnera. The bacteria are transmitted vertically via the aphid ovary, and the association is obligate for both partners: Bacteria-free aphids grow poorly and produce few or no offspring, and Buchnera are both unknown apart from aphids and apparently unculturable. The symbiosis has a nutritional basis. Specifically, bacterial provisioning of essential amino acids has been demonstrated. Nitrogen recycling, however, is not quantitatively important to the nutrition of aphid species studied, and there is strong evidence against bacterial involvement in the lipid and sterol nutrition of aphids. Buchnera have been implicated in various non-nutritional functions. Of these, just one has strong experimental support: promotion of aphid transmission of circulative viruses. It is argued that strong parallels may exist between the nutritional interactions (including the underlying mechanisms) in the aphid-Buchnera association and other insect symbioses with intracellular microorganisms.