The toxicity of allyl alcohol, coumarin and menadione has been studied in precision-cut liver slice cultures. Liver slices were prepared from male Sprague-Dawley rats, male Dunkin-Hartley guinea-pigs and from samples of Cynomolgus monkey and human liver using a Krumdieck tissue slicer. The liver slices were cultured with the test compounds for 24 h in a dynamic organ culture system. Toxicity was assessed by measurement of protein synthesis, potassium content and the MTT assay. At the concentrations examined, menadione produced marked toxicity in liver slices from all four species, whereas rat liver slices were less susceptible to allyl alcohol toxicity. Coumarin produced concentration-dependent toxic effects in rat and guinea-pig liver slices, whereas Cynomolgus monkey and human liver slices were relatively resistant, especially at low coumarin concentrations. At some concentrations of the test compounds examined, the MTT assay appeared to be a less sensitive indicator of toxicity than either protein synthesis or potassium content. These results demonstrate the usefulness of precision-cut liver slices for assessing species differences in xenobiotic-induced toxicity.