Washed cells prepared from carbon-limited continuous cultures of Alcaligenes eutrophus synthesised poly-3-hydroxybutyrate (PHB) rapidly when supplied with glucose, DL-lactate or L-lactate. Unlike growing cultures, washed cells excreted significant amounts of pyruvate. The combined rates of PHB production (qPHB) and pyruvate excretion (qPyr) were linearly related to the rate of carbon substrate utilisation (qS), showing that washed cells behaved similarly to growing cultures when corrected for the absence of non-PHB biomass production. The addition of formate (as a potential source of NADH and/or ATP) significantly stimulated both qPHB and qPyr, but slightly decreased qS and substantially decreased the flux of carbon through the tricarboxylic acid cycle (qTCA). Citrate synthase activity of broken cells was inhibited by physiological concentrations of NADH, but not of ATP, in a manner that was not reversible by AMP. Citrate synthase was purified and shown to be a "large" form of the enzyme (Mr 227,000), comprising a single type of subunit (Mr 47,000) as found in several other gram-negative aerobes. The potential role of citrate synthase in the regulation of PHB production via its ability to control carbon flux into the tricarboxylic acid cycle is discussed.