The aim of this work was to identify enzymes that participate in the degradation of transitory starch in Arabidopsis. A mutant line was isolated by screening leaves at the end of the night for the presence of starch. The mutant had a higher starch content than the wild-type throughout the diurnal cycle. This accumulation was due to a reduction in starch breakdown, leading to an imbalance between the rates of synthesis and degradation. No reduction in the activity of endo-amylase (alpha-amylase), beta-amylase, starch phosphorylase, maltase, pullulanase or D-enzyme could be detected in crude extracts of leaves of the mutant. However, native PAGE in gels containing amylopectin revealed that a starch-hydrolysing activity, putatively identified as an endo-amylase and present in wild-type chloroplasts, was absent or appreciably reduced in the mutant. This is the first time that a specific enzyme required for starch degradation has been identified in leaves.