Malate and succinate were taken up rapidly by isolated, intact peribacteroid units (PBUs) from soybean (Glycine max (L.) Merr.) root nodules and inhibited each other in a competitive manner. Malonate uptake was slower and was severely inhibited by equimolar malate in the reaction medium. The apparent Km for malonate uptake was higher than that for malate and succinate uptake. Malate uptake by PBUs was inhibited by (in diminishing order of severity) oxaloacetate, fumarate, succinate, phthalonate and oxoglutarate. Malonate and butylmalonate inhibited only slightly and pyruvate,isocitrate and glutamate not at all. Of these compounds, only oxaloacetate, fumarate and succinate inhibited malate uptake by free bacteroids. Malate uptake by PBUs was inhibited severely by the uncoupler carbonylcyanidem-chlorophenyl hydrazone and the respiratory poison KCN, and was stimulated by ATP. We conclude that the peribacteroid membrane contains a dicarboxylate transport system which is distinct from that on the bacteroid membrane and other plant membranes. This system can catalyse the rapid uptake of a range of dicarboxylates into PBUs, with malate and succinate preferred substrates, and is likely to play an important role in symbiotic nitrogen fixation. Energization of both the bacteroid and peribacteroid membranes controls the rate of dicarboxylate transport into peribacteroid units.