Some characteristics of a fumarate reductase from Streptococcus faecalis are described. The enzyme had a pH optimum of 7.4; optimal activity was observed when the ionic strength of the phosphate buffer was adjusted to 0.088. The K(m) value of the enzyme for reduced flavin mononucleotide was 2 x 10(-4)m as determined with a 26-fold preparation. In addition to fumarate, the enzyme reduced maleate and mesaconate. No succinate dehydrogenase activity was detected, but succinate did act as an inhibitor of the fumarate reductase activity. Other inhibitors were malonate, citraconate, and trans-, trans-muconate. Metal-chelating agents did not inhibit the enzyme. A limited inhibition by sulfhydryl-binding agents was observed, and the preparations were sensitive to air oxidation and storage. Glycine, alanine, histidine, and possibly lysine stimulated fumarate reductase activity in the cell-free extracts. However, growth in media supplemented with glycine did not enhance fumarate reductase activity. The enzymatic activity appears to be constitutive.