31P nuclear magnetic resonance spectra of glycolyzing, anaerobic Escherichia coli cells and their perchloric acid extracts were obtained at 145.7 MHz. Time-dependent intracellular concentrations of nucleoside di- and triphosphates, Pi, and sugar phosphates were measured during glycolysis with 2-min resolution, while intracellular and extra-cellular pH values were monitored simultaneously. Upon glucose addition, anaerobic E. coli cells rapidly produce acids and develop a transmembrane pH gradient (delta pH). Glycolysis rates were calculated from the changes in the external pH. It was found that glycolysis rates are strongly dependent on internal pH, sharply decreasing when the pH drops below approximately 7.2. The ATPase inhibitor, dicyclohexylcarbodiimide (DCCD), prevented NTP hydrolysis and inhibited delta pH formation. The uncoupler, carbonyl cyanide p-triflouromethoxyphenyl hydrazone (FCCP), drastically reduced both the delta pH and the NTP level. When the cells were previously treated with DCCD, FCCP collapsed the delta pH while the NTP levels remained high. It is concluded that ATP produced by glycolysis is hydrolyzed by the membrane ATPase to generate a delta pH and that FCCP stimulates ATP hydrolysis by ATPase and collapses the proton gradient.