Various formulations of the Plasmodium falciparum merozoite surface antigen, MSA-2, were made and tested in animals in order to select one for use in human vaccine trials. Recombinant constructs representing both major allelic forms of MSA-2 were formulated with a range of adjuvants and used to immunize rabbits, mice and sheep. After immunization, antibody responses obtained with the most potent adjuvants were at least tenfold greater than responses obtained with the least potent adjuvant Alhydrogel, which was used as the reference standard, although its lower potency indicated against its further use in clinical trials. Based on broadly similar results obtained with the three animal species, several adjuvants, including the water-in-oil adjuvant Montanide ISA 720, the oil-in-water adjuvant SAF-1, and liposomes containing lipid A formulated with Alhydrogel were demonstrated to be potent and potentially suitable for the clinical evaluation of MSA-2 as a candidate malaria vaccine antigen. Of these, ISA 720 was selected for further trial.