The fatty acids obtained from extractable lipids of the anaerobic sulfate bacterium Desulfovibrio desulfuricans were identified. Saturated and monoenoic iso (C15-C19) and anteiso (C15, C17) fatty acids and saturated normal (C14-C18) and monoenoic normal (C16, C18) fatty acids were shown to be shown to be present by capillary gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. Iso and anteiso beta-hydroxy fatty acids were analyzed as trimethylsilyl ethers in the same way. The position of methyl branches in the monoenoic fatty acids was determined from characteristic fragment ions in the mass spectra of their methyl esters. Disilyloxy methyl esters, prepared by derivatization of the mono unsaturated methyl esters and analyzed by capillary gas chromatography-mass spectrometry, provided the position of double bonds. The monoenoic fatty acids identified in this way were normal (delta7-C16:1, delta9-C16:1, delta9-C18:1, delta11-C18:1), iso (delta7-C15:1, delta9-C16:1, delta9-C17:1, delta11-C18:1, delta11-C19:1), and anteiso (delta7-C15:1, delta9-C17:1). Iso delta9-C17:1 fatty acid is present as the major component. The occurrence of these monoenoic fatty acids in this bacterium is of taxonomical importance.