A rapid and economical method for the purification of phospholipase A1 (PLA1) from the extracellular medium of the ciliate Tetrahymena thermophila is presented. Essentially, the procedure, here designated as purification by selective interaction (PSI), entails the incubation of media containing PLA1 with liposomes made of soy bean phospholipids. The PLA1-lipid complexes are precipitated by the addition of CaCl2 and collected by centrifugation. Elution of the PLA1 is effected by treating the complexes with 40% dimethylformamide, a reversible inhibitor of this enzyme, which is easily removed by dialysis. In combination with DEAE cellulose ion exchange chromatography, PSI yielded homogeneous PLA1 preparations with a 14% recovery and a 416-fold increase in specific activity. This procedure, which can be completed within 1 day, may prove useful for the isolation of phospholipases from other sources. This practical method for the purification of a microbial PLA1 opens the way to large-scale production of these types of enzyme, which are not as yet commercially available.