The in vitro synthesis of the iron-molybdenum cofactor nitrogenase was inhibited by a low-molecular-weight factor. This inhibitory factor was present in the membrane extracts of wild-type and nif mutant strains of Klebsiella pneumoniae that were grown under conditions that either repressed or derepressed nitrogenase expression. In vitro, the inhibition was specific for the NifB protein. Addition of this factor to K. pneumoniae cells at various times during nif derepression decreased nitrogenase activity, presumably through inhibition of iron-molybdenum cofactor synthesis. The inhibitor was purified by solvent extraction and chromatography on DEAE-cellulose, silica gel, and aluminum oxide columns.