Minke whales (Balaenopteva acutorostruta) have developed a compartmentalized stomach system, which includes a non-glandular forestomach containing high concentrations of indigenous bacteria. The forestomach contents serve as microbial substrate, and samples were collected from fiveadult minke whales eating capelin (Mallotus villosus) and crustaceans (Thysanoessa sp.). Chemical analysis of the forestomach contents revealed that they consisted of crude protein (650 (SD 58) g/kg DM), lipid (330 (SD77) g/kg DM) and water-soluble carbohydrates (53.3 (SD 7·3) g/kg DM). The contribution of energy from volatile fatty acids (VFA), produced by forestomach bacterial fermentation, to the total energy budget was estimated. The forestomach concentration ofVFA ranged from 13·2 to 68·5 mmol/l, and the pH was 5·83 (SD 0·41). VFA pool size ranged from 72·8 to 638·1 mmol and represented from 0·169 to 2·107 kJ/kg live weight (W)0·75 Maximal recorded forestomach VFA production rate was 1694 mmol/h in one capelin-eating minke whalewith 42·6 litres of forestomach fluid. Energy from VFA produced by forestomach fermentation represented 6–107 kJ/kg w0·75 per d, which accounts for only 0·9–16·9% of the average daily energy expenditure of minke whales. This study suggests that the bacterial fermentation in the minke whale forestomach varies, depending on the volume and the quality of substrate available, inlinencing fermentation rates and concentration of VFA. Due to the small relative size of the forestomach, the contribution of VFA to the daily energy requirement in minke whales would be of less importance than in ruminants even when assuming the same production rate of VFA as in a ruminant.