A Nocardia rhodochrous strain capable of utilizing acetylene as its sole source of carbon and energy exhibited slow growth on low concentrations of acetaldehyde. Resting cells incubated with acetylene formed a product identified as acetaldehyde, but attempts to demonstrate acetylene hydrase activity in cell-free extracts were unsuccessful. Acetaldehyde dehydrogenase in N. rhodochrous was found to be NAD+ linked and nonacylating, converting acetaldehyde to acetate. Specific activities of acetaldehyde dehydrogenase, acetothiokinase, and isocitrate lyase were enhanced in cells grown on acetylene and ethanol as compared with cells grown on alternate substrates. These results suggest that acetylene is catabolized via acetaldehyde to acetate and eventually to acetyl coenzyme A. Acetylene oxidation in N. rhodochrous appears to be constitutive and is not inhibited in the presence of either ethylene, nitrous oxide, or methane.