We previously described a new meta-cleaving enzyme, termed chloridazon-catechol dioxygenase. The present paper describes the comparison of this enzyme with the meta-cleaving enzymes of eighteen strains of soil bacteria isolated with various aromatic compounds. Four of these strains were isolated with the herbicide chloridazon, six with the analgeticum aminopyrine and one with the analgeticum antipyrine as sole carbon source. These strains all belonged to a new type of bacteria, called Phenylobacteria. The seven other strains were isolated with aromatic compounds such as toluene, 3-phenylpropionate, benzoate, papaverine and 4-chlorobenzoate, and belonged to various species including Pseudomonas, Acinetobacter and Nocardia. In double diffusion experiments with antibodies, prepared against chloridazon-catechol dioxygenase, extracts from the eleven strains of Phenylobacteria gave a cross reaction, whereas the extracts of the seven other strains showed no reaction. The enzymes of the eleven positive strains showed the same characteristic kinetic behaviour as the previously described enzyme. In contrast to catechol 2, 3-dioxygenase they needed the addition of exogenous Fe2+ ions for activity. On ion-exchange chromatography they emerged at the same buffer concentration as chloridazon-catechol dioxygenase. In polyacrylamide electrophoresis they migrated identically. The linkage map derived from the activities of the various enzymes with 10 different substrates revealed an identity of more than 80% for these eleven enzymes. So the meta-cleaving enzymes of the Phenylobacteria seem to form a distinct group among the non-heme iron-containing dioxygenases.