Carrot (Daucus carota L.) cells respond to treatment with fungal elicitors by synthesizing wallbound p-hydroxybenzoic acid (p-HBA). The biosynthetic pathway to p-HBA is still hypothetical. Tracer experiments with L-phenylalanine indicate the involvement of the general phenylpropanoid pathway. 3,4 (Methylenedioxy) innamic acid, an inhibitor of hydrocycinnamate CoA ligase, inhibits the accumulation of anthocyanins in carrot, while it does not interfere with p-HBA synthesis. Thus p-HBA biosynthesis does not appear to involve CoA thioesters. In the present report the sequence of enzymic reactions leading to p-HBA was investigated in vitro using protein preparations from cells treated with a fungal elicitor from Pythium aphanidermatum (Edson) Fitzp. The side-chain degradation from p-coumaric acid to p-HBA is not analogous to the β-oxidation of fatty acids and involves p-hydroxybenzaldehyde as an intermediate. The final step from p-hydroxybenzaldehyde to p-HBA is catalyzed by an NAD-dependent p-hydroxybenzaldehyde dehydrogenase (EC 1.2.1.-). This reaction was characterized with regard to cofactor requirements, pH and temperature optima. The in-vitro formation of p-HBA from p-coumaric acid and the activity of the hydroxybenzaldehyde dehydrogenase are moderately elicitor-induced but to a much lesser extent than phenylalanine ammonialyase, which is the starting enzyme of the general phenylpropanoid pathway.