A technetium-99m-labeled peptide derived from ubiquicidine, further referred to as 99mTc-UBI 29-41, targets bacterial and fungal infections, but not sterile inflammatory processes, in experimental animals. This paper reports on the radiochemical and biological features of this radioactive agent and the importance of the amino acid sequence of UBI 29-41 for imaging of infections. Radiochemical analyses of 99mTc-UBI 29-41 and a radiolabeled scrambled version of this peptide, i.e. 99mTc-Sc-UBI 29-41, revealed that both peptides were labeled rapidly (within 10 min) and effectively with little colloid formation (less than 5% of the total radioactivity) and very little free pertechnetate (or radioactive intermediates) in the preparations containing radiolabeled peptide. Furthermore, association of the peptides with bacteria could be competed with excess unlabeled peptide and this association proved to be temperature-dependent. Based on this in vitro data we concluded that labeling of peptides with 99mTc by this direct method is rapid, efficient, and safe. Scintigraphy demonstrated that radioactivity is rapidly removed from the circulation (half-lifes of UBI 29-41 and Sc-UBI 29-41 were 16 and 21 min, respectively) mainly by renal clearance. Analysis of murine blood revealed that only a small proportion of the intravenously injected 99mTc-peptides is associated with blood cells. Although both radiolabeled peptides accumulated rapidly at sites of infection, the values for 99mTc-UBI 29-41 were higher (P < 0.05) than for 99mTc-Sc-UBI 29-41. Moreover, injection of excess unlabeled UBI 29-41, but not Sc-UBI 29-41, into Staphylococcus aureus-infected mice prior to injection of 99mTc-UBI 29-41 significantly (P < 0.05) reduced the accumulation of this radiopharmaceutical at the site of infection. In addition, we observed significantly (P < 0.01) higher amounts of 99mTc-UBI 29-41 at the site of infection in mice using a carrier-free radiolabeled UBI 29-41 as compared with unpurified preparations containing radiolabeled UBI 29-41. This in vivo data indicates that the amino acid sequence of 99mTc-UBI 29-41 contributes to its accumulation at the site of infection.