Plasmid content and localization of the genes encoding the reductases of the denitrification pathway were determined in the photosynthetic bacterium Rhodobacter sphaeroides forma sp. denitrificans by transverse alternating-field electrophoresis (TAFE) and hybridization with digoxigenin-labeled homologous probes. Two large plasmids of 102 and 115 kb were found. The genes encoding the various reductases are not clustered on a single genetic unit. The nap locus (localized with a napA probe), the nirK gene and the norCB genes encoding the nitrate, nitrite and nitric oxide reductases, respectively, were found on different AseI and SnaBI digested chromosomal DNA fragments, whereas the nos locus (localized with a nosZ probe), encoding the nitrous oxide reductase, was identified on the 115-kb plasmid. Furthermore, the genes encoding two proteins of unknown function, one periplasmic and the other cytoplasmic, but whose synthesis is highly induced by nitrate, were found on a different chromosomal fragment. For comparison, the same experiments were carried out on the well-characterized strain Rhodobacter sphaeroides 2.4.1.