The activity and the kinetic behavior of expoxide hydrolase were studied in various subcellular fractions of rhesus monkey liver isolated by differential centrifugation. The purity of the fractions was estimated by morphometric electron microscopy. Hydrolase activity was measured by a specific radiometric assay with [7-3H]styrene oxide as substrate. All isolated subcellular fractions catalyzed the hydration of styrene oxide at a significant rate. With a saturating concentration of substrate (1 mM), the enzymatic activity (nanomole of product per minute per milligram of protein; mean +/- S.E.) turned out to be 1.51 +/- 0.45 (nuclear fraction), 3.50 +/- 1.11 (mitochondrial fraction), 14.8 +/- 2.26 (microsomal fraction) and 1.69 +/- 0.37 (soluble fraction). The hydrolase obeyed Michaelis-Menten kinetics in each fraction. Vmax (nanomole per minute per milligram; mean +/- S.E.) was 1.64 +/- 0.65 (nuclear fraction) 3.87 +/- 1.71 (mitochondrial fraction), 19.8 +/- 5.4 (microsomal fraction) and 2.72 +/- 1.36 (soluble fraction). The Km (millimole; mean +/- S.E.) values in the fractions were 0.09 +/- 0.02, 0.07 +/- 0.01, 0.23 +/- 0.15 and 0.64 +/- 0.40, respectively. The metabolism of styrene oxide was also studied in isolated hepatocytes from rhesus monkey. These cells hydrated the substrate easily whereas the conjugation of styrene oxide with glutathione was not measurable. Our results show that epoxide hydrolase is present in all subcellular fractions of the rhesus monkey liver. Styrene oxide is preferentially metabolized by hydration to styrene glycol in the isolated hepatocytes of this species and no conjugation with glutathione was found under the incubation conditions used.