In this review, we describe the current state of knowledge about the biochemistry of mammalian peroxisomes, especially human peroxisomes. The identification and characterization of yeast mutants defective either in the biogenesis of peroxisomes or in one of its metabolic functions, notably fatty acid beta-oxidation, combined with the recognition of a group of genetic diseases in man, wherein these processes are also defective, have provided new insights in all aspects of peroxisomes. As a result of these and other studies, the indispensable role of peroxisomes in multiple metabolic pathways has been clarified, and many of the enzymes involved in these pathways have been characterized, purified, and cloned. One aspect of peroxisomes, which has remained ill defined, is the transport of metabolites across the peroxisomal membrane. Although it is clear that mammalian peroxisomes under in vivo conditions are closed structures, which require the active presence of metabolite transporter proteins, much remains to be learned about the permeability properties of mammalian peroxisomes and the role of the four half ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporters therein.