The use of monoxenic cultures of the obligately biotrophic vesicular arbuscular fungus Glomus intraradices now permits investigation of the lipid metabolism of this organism. In bicompartmental culture plates, sporulating extraradical hyphae can be obtained, totally free of roots, and then provided with 14C-acetate as lipid precursor. Three experimental stages were studied: i) stage A, symbiotic stage corresponding to the fungus still attached to the host plant roots, ii) stage B, consisting of the fungus detached from the host roots, iii) stage C, germinating spores. In each case, the fungus proved to be able to synthesise its own lipids: 1,2- and 1,3-diacylglycerols, triacylglycerols, phospholipids, sterols and free fatty acids, de novo. Lipid metabolism varied with the experimental conditions. Phospholipid synthesis was intensive in germinating spores. Thus the obligately biotrophic status of this fungus cannot be explained by a deficiency in synthesis of these various lipid classes.