The two cDNAs coding for the cytosolic (cyt) and the chloroplast-located (chl) Cu,Zn superoxide dismutases (SODs) of tomato (Perl-Treves et al. 1988) were cloned into respective binary vectors and mobilized into Agrobacterium strains. Potato tuber discs were infected with either of the two agrobacterial strains and cultured on selective medium containing kanaymcin. The integration of either of the cyt or the chl SOD transgenes was verified by Southern-blot hybridization. The enzymatic activity of the additional tomato chl Cu,Zn SOD could be distinguished from endogenous SOD activity since the latter isozyme migrated faster on SOD-activity gels. Several transgenic potato lines harboring either the cyt or the chl SOD genes of tomato showed elevated tolerance to the superoxide-generating herbicide paraquat (methyl viologen). After exposure of shoots to paraquat, tolerance was recorded either by scoring symptoms visually or by measurements of photosynthesis using the photoacoustic method. Root cultures from transgenic lines that harbored the additional cyt Cu,Zn SOD gene of tomato were tolerant to methyl viologen up to 10(-5) M; a lower tolerance was recorded in roots of transgenic lines that expressed the additional chl Cu,Zn SOD of tomato.