Arginine deiminase (EC 22.214.171.124) was purified to homogeneity from the cell extract of Mycoplasma arginini by molecular-sieve, anion-exchange and arginine-affinity chromatographies. The purified enzyme was composed of 2 identical sub-units with a molecular weight of 45.000 and had a pl of 4.7. Its Vmax value and Km value for L-arginine were estimated to be 50 units/mg protein and 0.2 mM, respectively. It exerted maximal enzyme activity at pH 6.0–7.5 and at 50°C. The arginine deiminase was stable at neutral pH. When injected i.v. into mice, the half-life of the arginine deiminase in blood was about 4 hr. In culture, the enzyme strongly inhibited the growth of 6 kinds of mouse tumor cell lines by depleting L-arginine in the culture media. When the in vivo growth-inhibitory activity of arginine deiminase was tested for the 6 tumor cell lines, i.p. administration of the purified enzyme effectively prolonged the survival time of the mice injected with all kinds of the tumor cell lines. Especially, the in vivo growth of a hepatoma cell line, MH134, was completely prevented by the daily administration at a dose of 0.2 mg/mouse for 14 days. These results raise the possibility of the use of the arginine deiminase derived from Mycoplasma arginini as a new anti-tumor drug.