1. beta-Ketothiolase was purified 49-fold from fructose-grown cells of Hydrogenomonas eutropha H16 with a yield of 27%; the purification procedure involved precipitation by cetyltrimethylammonium bromide, DEAE-cellulose chromatography and exclusion chromatography on Sephadex G-200; the freeze-dried enzyme is stable. The molecular weight determined by sucrose-gradient centrifugation (8.2S) and by gel filtration is 147000-150000. The optimum pH for the cleavage reaction is 8.1, that for the condensation reaction 7.8, both measured in Tris-HCl buffer. 2. The kinetics of the cleavage reaction are described. Substrate-saturation curves were measured with both acetoacetyl-CoA and CoA as the variable substrates. The concentration of the second substrate was kept constant and was varied during successive experiments. The cleavage reaction is characterized by substrate inhibition by acetoacetyl-CoA, which is partially relieved by free CoA. Hill plots indicate two acetoacetyl-CoA-binding sites. 3. The substrate(acetyl-CoA)-saturation curve for the condensation reaction is hyperbolic. The K(m) was 3.9x10(-4)m-acetyl-CoA. In the presence of CoA sigmoidal curves were obtained, with an increasing sigmoidicity from 0.03 to 0.30mm-CoA. The inhibitory action of CoA on the beta-ketothiolase condensation reaction and its possible involvement in the regulation of poly-beta-hydroxybutyrate synthesis and degradation are discussed.