Bilirubin monoglucuronide monoglucoside diester is one of the principal bilirubin conjugates in dog bile (and a lesser conjugate, in human bile), and bilirubin diglucoside is an occasional trace conjugate in dog bile whereas, in contrast, neither is detectable in rat bile. In order to investigate, in comparative fashion, the factors underlying the formation of glucuronide and glucose-containing conjugates, hepatic microsomes were isolated by differential centrifugation from the livers of both normal mongrel dogs and Sprague-Dawley rats, and their formation of bilirubin conjugates examined, in the presence of varying levels of UDP-glucuronate and UDP-glucose. Bilirubin and its conjugates were extracted and separated by high-performance liquid chromatography; a new methodology was devised, which clearly separates bilirubin diglucoside from bilirubin monoglucuronide, as well as bilirubin diglucuronide, the mixed monoglucuronide monoglucoside conjugate and bilirubin monoglucoside. At bilirubin levels of 12.5 μM, in the presence of equal amounts of both UDP-glucuronate and UDP-glucose, dog microsomes formed substantial amounts of both bilirubin diglucuronide and the mixed monoglucuronide-monoglucoside conjugate, and minor amounts of bilirubin monoglucuronide and bilirubin diglucoside. Microsomes from rat liver, under similar conditions, formed only bilirubin diglucuronide and bilirubin monoglucuronide. When only UDP-glucose was present, dog microsomes formed predominantly diglucoside and rat, predominantly monoglucoside. The findings imply that it is not the availability of the UDP-glycoside but rather the preference of the microsomal enzymic system for the different glycosidic nucleotides which dictates the varieties of bilirubin conjugates ordinarily formed in these two species.