The specific set of reactions that lead to the synthesis of benzoic acid in plants is still unclear, and even the subcellular compartment in which these reactions occur is unknown. Biosynthesis of both vegetative tissues and seeds of Arabidopsis thaliana contain a class of defense compounds termed glucosinolates, but only the seeds synthesize and store high levels of two glucosinolate compounds that contain a benzoic acid moiety. To identify genes involved in the synthesis of benzoic acid (directly or via benzaldehyde) in Arabidopsis, we analysed the levels of benzoylated glucosinolates in several lines that carry mutations in genes with homology to Pseudomonas fluorescens feruloyl-CoA hydratase, an enzyme that converts feruloyl-CoA to vanillin and acetyl-CoA, a reaction analogous to the conversion of cinnamoyl-CoA to benzaldehyde. We show here that mutations in the gene At5g65940, previously shown to encode a peroxisomal protein with beta-hydroxyisobutyryl-CoA hydrolase activity and designated as Chy1, lead to a deficiency of benzoic acid-containing glucosinolates in the seeds. Furthermore, Chy1 exhibits cinnamoyl-CoA hydrolase activity with a K(m) of 2.9 mum. Our findings suggest that at least a part of benzoic acid biosynthesis occurs in the peroxisomes, although the specific pathway that leads to benzoic acid and the specific biochemical role of Chy1 remain unclear.