A defined medium was developed for Streptomyces peucetius that optimally contained 0.5 mM magnesium, 1 mM phosphate, 75-125 mM glucose, 10 mM nitrate, and microelements. Poorer results were obtained with nitrite, aspartate, or ammonia as sole nitrogen sources. Other carbon sources which supported best growth and highest anthracycline titers were fructose, maltose, and soluble starch. In each case, substantial residual carbon remained at the end of 6 days, suggesting a lack of catabolite repression by the carbohydrate carbon sources on anthracycline biosynthesis. Studies involving limiting and nonlimiting concentrations of glucose supplemented with arabinose, a poorly utilizable carbon source, indicated that high carbon concentrations were not necessary for osmotic stabilization. Inorganic phosphate was found to have an inhibitory effect on anthracycline production. Furthermore, when cultures at early stages of anthracycline production were spiked with inorganic phosphate, a delay in further anthracycline production resulted until the added phosphate was depleted. A 10% inoculum of stationary phase cells yielded the best growth and most consistent anthracycline production. Spectrophotometric analyses at 495 nm of chloroform--methanol-extracted material were also found to be useful for the determination of total anthracyclines in culture extracts.