Abstract In February, 1990, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued a public solicitation for proposals to the bioremediation industry on testing the efficacy of commercial microbial products for enhancing degradation of weathered Alaskan crude oil. The Agency commissioned the National Environmental Technology Applications Corporation (NETAC), a non-profit corporation dedicated to the commercialization of environmental technologies, to convene a panel of experts to review the proposals and choose those that offered the most promise for success in the field. Forty proposals were submitted, and 11 were selected for the first phase of a two-tiered testing protocol (only 10 were tested because one company did not participate). The laboratory testing consisted of electrolytic respirometers set up to measure oxygen uptake over time and shake flasks to measure oil degradation and microbial growth. If one or more products were found effective, the second tier would take place, consisting of small field plots on an actual contaminated beach in Prince William Sound in the summer of 1990. This paper discusses the first respirometric evaluations.