Intravascular pH was measured within the lysosomes and newly formed phagosomes in cultured mouse peritoneal macrophages. The kinetics of pH change in both vacuolar systems was quantitatively determined within a large cell population by fluorescence spectroscopy. Additionally, pH changes within individual phagosomes were followed semiquantitatively using indicator dyes. Two novel findings were made. Firstly, the pH in new phagosomes was transiently driven alkaline (higher than physiological) even when the external medium was buffered at pH 6.5. Secondly, perturbations of phagosome-lysosome fusion had little effect upon phagosomal pH changes, even though the compounds used markedly altered the pH of the lysosomes in resting and phagocytosing cells.