Bradyrhizobium japonicum is a symbiotic nitrogen-fixing soil bacteria that induce root nodules formation in legume soybean (Glycine max.). Using 13C- and 31P-nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy, we have analysed the metabolite profiles of cultivated B. japonicum cells and bacteroids isolated from soybean nodules. Our results revealed some quantitative and qualitative differences between the metabolite profiles of bacteroids and their vegetative state. This includes in bacteroids a huge accumulation of soluble carbohydrates such as trehalose, glutamate, myo-inositol and homospermidine as well as Pi, nucleotide pools and intermediates of the primary carbon metabolism. Using this novel approach, these data show that most of the compounds detected in bacteroids reflect the metabolic adaptation of rhizobia to the surrounding microenvironment with its host plant cells.