The aim of this work was to discover if there is enough ATP citrate lyase (EC 184.108.40.206) in the cytosol of the leaves of Pisum sativum L. to catalyse the synthesis of the acetyl CoA needed for terpenoid synthesis. Estimates of the maximum catalytic activity of the enzyme in leaves of 7-d-old peas gave values of 113 nmol min(-1) g(-1) fresh weight. The rate of carotenoid accumulation in these leaves corresponded to a requirement for acetyl CoA of 0.7 nmol min(-1) g(-1) fresh weight. The distribution of marker enzymes during fractionation of homogenates of leaves from 7 to 10-d-old peas showed that differential centrifugation led to the isolation in reasonable yields of chloroplasts, mitochondria, peroxisomes and the endomembrane system. None of the above components of the leaf contained appreciable detectable activity of ATP citrate lyase, the distribution of which closely paralleled that of the cytosolic marker. It was concluded that in young leaves of pea most of the ATP citrate lyase is in the cytosol.