The intestinal microvilli of fetal origin in human amniotic fluid were purified by Ca2+ precipitation of contaminating organelles followed by differential centrifugation of microvillar membranes. In the purified preparation, the specific activity of the microvillar marker-enzymes maltase and sucrase increased about 77-fold over that in cell-free amniotic fluid. Significant contamination of the purified preparation by endoplasmic reticulum (microsomes) and lysosomes was ruled out on the basis of a low content of the marker enzymes glucose-6-phosphatase (microsomes) and acid phosphatase (lysosomes). Amniotic fluid microvilli contain typical enzymes of the fetal intestine including maltase, sucrase, trehalase, alkaline phosphatase and gamma-glutamyltransferase, and their morphology by electron microscopy resembles that of vesiculated intestinal microvilli. Prenatal detection of genetic diseases due to a deficiency of a protein expressed in these membranes or associated to abnormal microvilli seems feasible.