Burkholderia (Pseudomonas) cepacia PR1(23) has been shown to constitutively express to toluene catabolic pathway distinguished by a unique toluene ortho-monooxygenase (Tom). This strain has also been shown to contain two extrachromosomal elements of < 70 and > 100 kb. A derivative strain cured of the largest plasmid, PR1(23) Cure, was unable to grow on phenol or toluene as the sole source of carbon and energy, which requires expression of the Tom pathway. Transfer of the larger plasmid from strain G4 (the parent strain inducible for Tom) enabled PR1(23) Cure to grow on toluene or phenol via inducible Tom pathway expression. Conjugal transfer of TOM23c from PR1(23) to an antibiotic-resistant derivative of PR1(23) Cure enabled the transconjugant to grow with either phenol or toluene as the sole source of carbon and energy through constitutive expression of the Tom pathway. A cloned 11.2-kb EcoRI restriction fragment of TOM23c resulted in the expression of both Tom and catechol 2,3-dioxygenase in Escherichia coli, as evidenced by its ability to oxidize trichloroethylene, toluene, m-cresol, o-cresol, phenol, and catechol. The largest resident plasmid of PR1 was identified as the source of these genes by DNA hybridization. These results indicate that the genes which encode Tom and catechol 2,3-dioxygenase are located on TOM, an approximately 108-kb degradative plasmid of B. cepacia G4.