Rhizobium strains (one each of Rh. japonicum, Rh. lupini, Rh. leguminosarum) take up 2-ketoglutaric acid in general much faster and from lower concentrations in the medium than strains of Escherichia coli, Bacillus subtilis and Chromobacterium violaceum. A strain of Enterobacter aerogenes, however, is more similar to some Rhizobium strains. The same strains of Rhizobium take up also phosphate much faster and from lower concentrations than the other bacteria tested. 4 strains of Rh. lupini proved to be significantly different from 4 strains of Rh. trifolii in taking up L-glutamic acid from three to ten times lower concentration within 5 h. A similar difference was noticed between 5 strains of Rh. leguminosarum and 2 strains of Rh. japonicum for the uptake of 2-ketoglutaric acid and of L-glutamic acid. Isolated bacteroids from nodules of Glycine max var. Chippeway have a reduced uptake capacity for glutamic acid and for 2-ketoglutaric acid during the first 10-12 h, but reach the same value after 24 h as free living Rh. japonicum cells. The differences in the uptake kinetics are independent of cell concentration. The group II Rhizobium strains (Rh. japonicum and Rh. lupini, slow growing Rhizobium) are characterized by a rapid uptake of glutamic acid to a low remaining concentration of 1-3 X 10(-7) M and an uptake of 2-ketoglutaric acid to a remaining concentration of 2-5 X 10(-7) M. The group I Rhizobium strains (Rh. trifolii and Rh. leguminosarum, fast growing Rhizobium), can be characterized by a much slower uptake of both substances with a more than ten times higher concentration of both metabolites remaining in the medium after the same time.