A genomic library from Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus was used to complement an Escherichia coli mutant strain deficient for both lactate dehydrogenase and pyruvate formate lyase, and thus unable to grow anaerobically. One recombinant clone was found to display a broad specificity NAD(+)-dependent D-2-hydroxyacid dehydrogenase activity. The corresponding gene (named hdhD) was subcloned and sequenced. The deduced amino acid sequence of the encoded enzyme indicates a 333-residue protein closely related to D-2-hydroxyisocaproate (i.e. 2-hydroxy-4-methyl-pentanoate) dehydrogenase (D-HO-HxoDH) of Lactobacillus casei and other NAD(+)-dependent D-lactate dehydrogenases (D-LDH) from several other bacterial species. The hdhD gene was overexpressed under the control of the lambda phage PL promoter and the enzyme was purified with a two-step method. The L. delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus enzyme, like that of L. casei, was shown to be active on a wide variety of 2-oxoacid substrates except those having a branched beta-carbon.