Pseudomonas ochraceae produced inducibly a hydro-lyase which catalyzes the reversible conversion of gamma-oxalomesaconate into (-)-gamma-oxalocitramalate. The enzyme has been purified to homogeneity from the bacteria grown with phthalate. The enzyme was a dimeric protein (pI=4.9) with a Mr of 68,000 and showed a high specificity for gamma-oxalomesaconate (Km=14 microM) and (-)-gamma-oxalocitramalate (Km=6.4 microM). Equilibrium constant for the hydration of gamma-oxalomesaconate at pH 8.0 and 24 degrees C was 2.5. Various thiols activated the enzyme.