Abstract The bacterial metabolism of propane and the pathway(s) involved are poorly understood, as the relative importance of terminal versus subterminal oxidation of propane, via propan-1-ol and propan-2-ol, respectively, is still unclear. In the case of bacteria, the ability to oxidize propane appears to be confined mainly to the Gram-positive Corynebacterium-Nocardia-Mycobaterium-Rhodococcus complex. Studies on propane oxidation have been hampered by a lack of firm enzymological data; for example, to date there are no reports of a purified propane oxygenase system. However, oxygenase activity has been confirmed by the production of propan-1-ol and/or propan-2-ol, and more recentlly by the co-oxidation of propene to 1,2-epoxypropane in cell extracts of propane-grown cells. Here, we review the use of genetic, biochemical and immunological techniques to assess the role(s) of terminal and subterminal oxidation in the metabolism of propane by Rhodococcus rhodochrous PNKb1 and present a general overview of the topic.