Enrichment cultures containing atrazine (2-chloro-4-ethylamino-6- isopropylamino-1,3,5-triazine) at a concentration of 100 ppm (0.46 mM) as a sole nitrogen source were obtained from soils exposed to repeated spills of atrazine, alachlor, and metolachlor. Bacterial growth occurred concomitantly with formation of metabolites from atrazine and subsequent biosynthesis of protein. When ring-labeled [14C]atrazine was used, 80% or more of the s- triazine ring carbon atoms were liberated as 14CO2. Hydroxyatrazine may be an intermediate in the atrazine mineralization pathway. More than 200 pure cultures isolated from the enrichment cultures failed to utilize atrazine as a nitrogen source. Mixing pure cultures restored atrazine-mineralizing activity. Repeated transfer of the mixed cultures led to increased rates of atrazine metabolism. The rate of atrazine degradation, even at the elevated concentrations used, far exceeded the rates previously reported in soils, waters, and mixed and pure cultures of bacteria.