Lactate efflux from frog sartorius muscles was measured following a lactate load of about 18 mumol X g-1 induced by a 4-min period of stimulation. Lactate efflux rate was buffer concentration dependent. The initial efflux rate increased from about 150 nmol X g-1 X min-1 in 1 mM MOPS buffer to 400 nmol X g-1 X min-1 in 25 mM MOPS buffer. The addition of 20 mM propionate reduced mean intracellular pH by about 0.2 units and increased lactate efflux rate by 70% at the highest buffer concentration and 400% at the lowest buffer concentration. The observed results are in reasonable agreement with predictions based on a model in which net efflux is limited by diffusion of both buffer and lactate in the extracellular space. Transmembrane lactate efflux appears to consist of two components, one of which is proton linked and carried either by undissociated lactic acid or coupled proton-lactate transport, the other being carried by independent lactate ions.