A microassay for elastase activity has been designed. Microtubes are coated with soluble elastin substrate by passive adsorption to the tube walls. On contact with enzymes in test samples, radioactivity is released into the sample buffer, which is then transferred to vials containing scintillation fluid without further processing. Porcine pancreatic elastase (EC 126.96.36.199) is easily detected in concentrations down to 8 micrograms/litre. The interassay coefficient of variation (CV) was below 10% for values above 50 micrograms/litre. The assay is rapid, precise, economical and sensitive.