Continuous cultivation of Plasmodium falciparum presently requires the nutritionally complex medium, RPMI 1640. A basal medium of KCl, NaCl, Na2HPO4, Ca(NO3)2, MgSO4, glucose, reduced glutathione, HEPES buffer, hypoxanthine, phenol red (in RPMI 1640 concentrations), and 10% (v/v) exhaustively dialyzed pooled human serum was used to determine which vitamins and amino acids had to be exogenously supplied for continuous cultivation. Supplementation of basal medium with calcium pantothenate, cystine, glutamate, glutamine, isoleucine, methionine, proline, and tyrosine was necessary for continuous growth. This semi-defined minimal medium supported continuous growth of four isolates of P. falciparum at rates slightly less than those obtained with RPMI 1640. Adding any other vitamin or amino acid did not improve growth. Incorporation of several non-essential amino acids, particularly phenylalanine and leucine, into proteins was markedly enhanced in the minimal medium compared to RPMI 1640.