The pyrimidine metabolism of Giardia lamblia trophozoites (Portland I strain) was studied using whole trophozoites and trophozoite homogenates. Pyrimidines and pyrimidine nucleosides were readily incorporated into nucleic acids. Orotic and aspartic acid incorporations were below the level of detection. Enzymes of the pyrimidine salvage pathway (i.e., thymidine and uridine phosphorylases and thymidine and uridine kinases) were detected in trophozoite homogenates, but the activities of de novo pyrimidine synthesis enzymes (i.e., carbamoyl-phosphate synthase, aspartate transcarbamoylase, dihydroorotase and dihydroorotate dehydrogenase) were below the level of detection in these same homogenates. The evidence presented supports the conclusion that G. lamblia trophozoites appear incapable of synthesizing pyrimidines de novo but are capable of salvaging preformed pyrimidines and pyrimidine nucleosides from the growth medium and the enzymes of this pyrimidine salvage pathway are not organelle associated.