Acetyl coenzyme A synthetase (EC 220.127.116.11) has been examined for its ability to accept various carboxylic acids as substrates in place of acetic acid. The activity of the enzyme with these substrates was monitored using a coupled enzyme assay and high pressure liquid chromatography (HPLC) analysis. Short chain carboxylic acids were found to be active including: propionic, acrylic, fluoroacetic, methacrylic, 3-chloropropionic, 3-bromopropionic, and propiolic. The kinetic parameters, Km and % Vmax of the carboxylic acid substrates, are reported and show that these acids are poorer substrates than acetic acid. Several of the acyl CoAs were synthesized on a preparative scale using enzyme catalysis, purified using preparative HPLC, and characterized using proton NMR spectroscopy. In the course of the NMR identification, a complete and fully resolved spectral assignment for all the protons of coenzyme A was made and is reported. The acyl-CoA analogs should be useful as substrate analogs and as potential affinity labels for enzymes that bind acetyl-CoA.