The transient kinetics of formation and decay of the reaction cycle intermediates of the Methylosinus trichosporium OB3b methane monooxygenase (MMO) catalytic cycle are studied as a function of temperature and substrate type and deuteration. Kinetic evidence is presented for the existence of three intermediates termed compounds O, P*, and P forming after the addition of O2 to diferrous MMO hydroxylase (H(r)) and before the formation of the reactive intermediate compound Q. The Arrhenius plots for these reactions are linear and independent of substrate concentration and type, showing that substrate does not participate directly in the oxygen activation phase of the catalytic cycle. Analysis of the transient kinetic data revealed only small changes relative to the weak optical spectrum of H(r) for any of these intermediates. In contrast, large changes in the 430 nm spectral region are associated with the formation of Q. The decay reaction of Q exhibits an apparent first-order concentration dependence for all substrates tested, and the observed rate constant depends on the substrate type. The kinetics of the decay reaction of Q yield a nonlinear Arrhenius plot when methane is the substrate, and the rates in both segments of the plot increase linearly with methane concentration. Together these observations suggest that at least two reactions with a methane concentration dependence, and perhaps two methane molecules, are involved in the decay process. When CD4 is used as the substrate, a large isotope effect and a linear Arrhenius plot are observed. Analogous plots for all other MMO substrates tested (e.g., ethane) are linear, and no isotope effect for deuterated analogues is observed. This demonstrates that a step other than C-H bond breaking is rate limiting for alternative MMO substrates. A two step Q decay mechanism is proposed that provides an explanation for the lack of an isotope effect for alternative MMO substrates and the fact that rate of oxidation of methane by Q exceeds that of many other hydrocarbons with weaker C-H bonds.