p-Coumaroyl-D-glucose hydroxylase in sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas Lam.) has been purified to apparent electrophoretic homogeneity using a combination of anion-and cation-exchange, hydrophobic and gel filtration chromatography. The purified enzyme was a monomer with a molecular weight of 33,000 and pI of 8.3. The purified enzyme showed not only hydroxylase activity but also polyphenol oxidase activity. L-Ascorbic acid was the best electron donor for the hydroxylation reaction, which had an optimum pH of 7.0. The enzyme hydroxylated p-coumaroyl-D-glucose, p-coumaric acid, and p-cresol but did not act on o-coumaric acid, m-coumaric acid, 4-hydroxy-3-methoxycinnamic acid, p-hydroxybenzoic acid or L-tyrosine. While the enzyme utilized p-coumaroyl-D-glucose and p-coumaric acid equally at pH 7.0, it hydroxylated only p-coumaroyl-D-glucose at pH 5.5. The enzyme oxidized diphenols such as D,L-(3,4-dihydroxyphenyl) alanine and caffeic acid, but exhibited no clear pH optimum in this reaction characteristic of polyphenol oxidase. Both the hydroxylase and the polyphenol oxidase activities were strongly inhibited by beta-mercaptoethanol, diethyldithiocarbamate, KCN, and p-coumaric acid (in concentrations higher than 5 mM). Ammonium sulfate and sodium chloride activated the hydroxylase activity but not the polyphenol oxidase activity of the enzyme. The enzyme activity and L-ascorbic acid contents changed in a manner suggesting their involvements in chlorogenic acid biosynthesis during incubation of sliced sweet potato root tissues.