The hydrolytic, reductive and oxidative enzyme systems involved in the phase I biotrans formation of xenobiotic compounds have been investigated in Hymenolepis diminuta. Adult H. diminuta are able to carry out a range of hydrolytic and reductive reactions, but in common with other helminths oxidative detoxification reactions were absent (oxidative demethylation, aniline hydroxylation, nitrobenzene hydroxylation, biphenyl hydroxylation). These oxidative reactions were readily demonstrated in rat liver. Extracts of H. diminuta hydrolysed nitrophenylphosphates and inorganic pyrophosphate, but not arylsulphates, nor could epoxide hydratase activity be detected. N-Deacetylase activity was present. However, O-deacetylase activity could not be demonstrated, although butyrate and palmitate, but not benzoate, esters were hydrolysed. H. diminuta was capable of hydrolysing a range of a-and β-glycosides, but not β-glucuronides. Extracts of H. diminuta reduced azo-compounds, aldehydes and disulphides, but ketones and aromatic nitro-compounds were not reduced. The phase I detoxification systems of H. diminuta differ considerably from those of its rat host; the results also suggest that, within the cestodes, there may be considerable species variation in detoxification reactions.