The debranching enzyme (EC 3.2.1.-) from Escherichia coli K12 was purified 312-fold with a 21% yield, DEAE-cellulose and DEAE-Sephadex chromatography were used for purification. The preparation was homogeneous and showed only a single band of protein and activity upon polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis. The enzyme hydrolyzed 1,6-alpha-glucosidic linkages in phosphorylase and beta-amylase limit dextrins prepared from glycogen and amylopectin. Small branched oligosaccharides were also hydrolyzed. Amylopectin was also completely hydrolyzed but the enzyme showed only a very low activity with glycogen as the substrate. The enzyme cannot be classified as a pullulanase because it has practically no activity with pullulan. But it also differs from the bacterial isoamylases described in other studies because of its inability to hydrolyze glycogen. The optimal pH is about 5.6. The optimal growth conditions for the synthesis of the enzyme by E. coli were also examined in the present studies.