A mixed microbial culture able to transform alachlor at a concentration of 50 μg ml-1 was obtained from alachlor-treated soil after an enrichment period of 84 days. The microbial community was composed of seven strains of bacteria. No single isolate was able to utilize alachlor as a sole source of carbon. There was no alachlor left in the enriched culture after a 14-day incubation, but only 12% of the 14C-ring-labeled alachlor was converted to 14CO2 through ring cleavage during 14 days in the basal medium amended with alachlor as a sole carbon source. The presence of sucrose as an alternative carbon source decreased the mineralization potential of the enriched culture, but sucrose increased the mineralizing ability of a three-member mixed culture. Thin-layer chromatographic analysis showed that there were four unidentified metabolites of alachlor produced by the enriched culture. Sucrose decreased the amount of two of the four metabolites. The absence of a noticeable decline in radioactivity beyond the initial 12% suggested that the side chain of alachlor was utilized as carbon source by the enriched culture. Little difference in radioactivity between growth medium and cell-free supernatant of the growth medium suggested that the carbon in the ring was not incorporated into the cells of the degrading microorganisms.