Human red cell acid phosphatase isozymes encoded by three alleles (ACP1*A, ACPI*B and ACP1*C), each of which generates two isozymes, (f) and (s), were purified to homogeneity. The molecular mass of the six isozymes (Af, As, Bf, Bs, Cf and Cs) was estimated to be 17-18 kDa, the mass of the f isozymes probably being slightly higher than that of the s isozymes. It was indicated that the isozymes react with p-nitrophenyl phosphate in the mono anionic state, and that a group with a pKa value of about 6, which may be histidine, is of importance for the catalytic function of the s isozymes. Significant differences between the f and s isozymes were observed with respect to specific activity. Km (p-nitrophenyl phosphate), Ki (p-aminobenzylphosphonic acid), amino acid composition, stability in the presence of urea, thermal stability, retention time in size-exclusion chromatography of the native isozymes and migration in sodium dodecyl sulphate polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis, In contrast, identical or similar properties were observed for the three genetically different f isozymes, and the same was the case for the three s isozymes. It is suggested that the f and s isozymes serve different functions in the cell.