Several mutants of Escherichia coli K-12 defective in aerobic metabolism were isolated. One such mutant was found to be deficient in cytochromes, heme, and catalase. Aerobically grown cells did not consume oxygen and could grow only on fermentable carbon sources. Supplementation of the growth medium with delta-aminolevulonic acid, protoporphyrin IX, or hemin did not restore aerobic metabolism. The lack of heme and catalase in mutant cells grown on glucose was not due to catabolite repression, since the addition of exogenous cyclic AMP did not restore the normal phenotype. When grown aerobically on complex medium containing glucose, the mutant produced lactic acid as the principal fermentation product. This pleotropic mutation was attributed to an inability of the cells to synthesize heme, and preliminary data mapped the mutation to between 8 and 13 min on the E. coli genome.