The coenzyme F420-dependent formate dehydrogenase from Methanobacterium formicicum was purified to electrophoretic homogeneity by anoxic procedures which included the addition of azide, flavin adenine dinucleotide (FAD), glycerol, and 2-mercaptoethanol to all buffer solutions to stabilize activity. The enzyme contains, in approximate molar ratios, 1 FAD molecule and 1 molybdenum, 2 zinc, 21 to 24 iron, and 25 to 29 inorganic sulfur atoms. Denaturation of the enzyme released a molybdopterin cofactor. The enzyme has a molecular weight of 177,000 and consists of one each of two different subunits, giving the composition alpha 1 beta 1. The molecular weight of the alpha-subunit is 85,000, and that of the beta-subunit is 53,000. The UV-visible spectrum is typical of nonheme iron-sulfur flavoprotein. Reduction of the enzyme facilitated dissociation of FAD, and the FAD-depleted enzyme was unable to reduce coenzyme F420. Preincubation of the FAD-depleted enzyme with FAD restored coenzyme F420-dependent activity.