Abstract Two hundred and twenty-nine ethylene-producing strains of bacteria were identified among 757 bacterial strains which included 13 strains of chemolithotrophs. The ethylene-producing bacetria were classified into three groups, namely, l-methionine-dependent, 2-ketoglutarate-dependent and meat extract-dependent, with reference to their respective biosynthetic pathways to ethylene. Two hundred and twenty-five l-methionine-dependent strains were obtained, while the only 2-ketoglutarate-dependent strain was Pseudomonas syringae pv. phaseolicola PK2. Three strains of chemolithotrophs had ethylene-forming capacity, and Thiobacillus novellus IFO 12443 had a novel ethylene-forming system which was dependent upon the addition of meat extract into the culture medium. The ethylene-forming systems of two of the strains of Thiobacillus ferrooxidans have not yet been characterized. Several strains of non-ethylene-producing bacteria failed to produce ethylene, even when l-methionine was added to the culture medium. We examined the causes of their lack of ethylene-producing ability and judged that these strains are either NADH:Fe(III)EDTA oxidoreductase-less or methionine-uptake activity-less.