The effectiveness of different sulfur-containing compounds in supplying inorganic sulfate for sulfate conjugation was studied in isolated cells from rat small intestine, kidney and lung. With cells isolated from the small intestine and kidney, inorganic sulfate was by far the most effective source for intracellular active sulfate as judged by the ability to support sulfate conjugation of 7-hydroxycoumarin. Kidney cells could also use cysteine, N-acetylcysteine and glutathione as a sulfate source, whereas isolated small intestinal cells did not seem to break down and use these sulfur-containing compounds. With isolated lung cells cysteine was the most efficient sulfate precursor. Of the other precursors N-acetylcysteine and inorganic sulfate were used for sulfate conjugation to some extent.