The influence of two different carbon sources and three incubation temperatures on the mycolic acid compositions of three Rhodococcus isolates from activated sludge was examined using Selective Ion Monitoring (SIM) gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS). Considerable qualitative and quantitative differences were detected in the mycolic acid compositions of the three very closely related isolates grown under the same conditions. Culture age also affected both the chain lengths and proportions of saturated mycolic acids detected in cell extracts, but not in the same manner for each isolate. Mycolic acids generally were of shorter chain lengths in cells grown with Tween 80 compared to glucose grown cells in strain 11R but the opposite situation occurred with strains A7 and D5. In all three, the proportion of unsaturated mycolic acids decreased with increasing growth temperatures. The taxonomic relevance of these observations and possible explanations for the observed changes in mycolic acid composition under various culture conditions are discussed.