Abstract The molecular biology and enzymology of aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH) have been extensively investigated. However, most of the studies have been confined to the mammalian forms, while the sub-mammalian vertebrate ALDHs are relatively unexplored. In the present investigation, an ALDH was purified from the hepatopancreas of grass carp ( Ctenopharygodon idellus) by affinity chromatographies on α-cyanocinnamate-Sepharose and Affi-gel Blue agarose. The 800-fold purified enzyme had a specific activity of 4.46 U/mg toward the oxidation of acetaldehyde at pH 9.5. It had a subunit molecular weight of 55 000. Isoelectric focusing showed a single band with a p I of 5.3. N-terminal amino acid sequencing of 30 residues revealed a positional identity of ∼70% with mammalian mitochondrial ALDH2. The kinetic properties of grass carp ALDH resembled those of mammalian ALDH2. The optimal pH for the oxidation of acetaldehyde was 9.5. The K m values for acetaldehyde were 0.36 and 0.31 μM at pH 7.5 and 9.5, respectively. Grass carp ALDH also possessed esterase activity which could be activated in the presence of NAD +.