The reactivity of cucumber cotyledon lipoxygenase with trilinolein was examined. The activity of the enzyme against linoleic acid rapidly decreased with increasing pH of the assay solution, and essentially no activity could be detected above pH 8.5. The rapid decrease in activity was not the result of an inactiveness of the enzyme at alkaline pH, because with trilinolein, the enzyme showed a broad pH-activity profile, and substantial activity could be detected even at pH 9.0. Rather, the decrease in activity was due to the dissociation of the linoleic acid emulsion into acid-soap aggregates and/or the monomeric form, depending on the ionization of the terminal carboxylic group. This suggests that cucumber cotyledon lipoxygenase acts only on an insoluble substrate at the lipid/water interface but not on a soluble one. High-performance liquid chromatography analyses of the products formed from trilinolein revealed that the enzyme inserted oxygen into the acyl moiety of trilinolein without hydrolysis of the ester bonds. Preincubation of the enzyme with triolein emulsions effectively abolished its activity against trilinolein added afterward. Furthermore, the enzyme was adsorbed on the trilinolein or triolein emulsion droplets in an essentially irreversible manner. A reaction velocity curve of the enzyme with trilinolein showed saturation kinetics. This is thought to be due to a regional substrate deficiency as the reaction proceeds. These lines of evidence indicate that the enzyme, once bound to the lipid/water interface, is unable to break free and bind to other emulsions.