Helicobacter pylori can utilise amino acids as the sole carbon energy source. The present study demonstrated that H. pylori grown in continuous culture in a defined medium containing glucose and amino acids utilised alanine, arginine, asparagine, aspartate, glutamine, glutamate, proline and serine. Specific asparaginase and glutaminase enzymes deaminated asparagine and glutamine respectively to aspartate and glutamate, with the production of ammonia. The glutaminase activity was inhibited by 6-diazo-5-oxo-L-norleucine. All the 13 strains of H. pylori tested produced both glutaminase and asparaginase activities. Glutamine is important in the health of the gastric and intestinal mucosa and is a primary energy source for lymphocytes. Depletion of glutamine at the site of H. pylori infection may be of significance in the pathogenesis of H. pylori-associated diseases such as peptic ulcer and gastric cancer.