Two Rhodococcus strains, R. opacus strain AS2 and R. erythropolis strain AS3, that were able to use 4-nitroanisole as the sole source of carbon and energy, were isolated from environmental samples. The first step of the degradation involved the O-demethylation of 4-nitroanisole to 4-nitrophenol which accumulated transiently in the medium during growth. Oxygen uptake experiments indicated the transformation of 4-nitrophenol to 4-nitrocatechol and 1,2,4-trihydroxybenzene prior to ring cleavage and then subsequent mineralization. The nitro group was removed as nitrite, which accumulated in the medium in stoichiometric amounts. In R. opacus strain AS2 small amounts of hydroquinone were produced by a side reaction, but were not further degraded.