The mechanism of the control of citric acid accumulation by oxygen was investigated by means of pilot plant fermentation using Aspergillus niger. The critical dissolved oxygen tension (DOT) for oxygen uptake of this fungus was about 18–21 and 23–26 mbar for trophophase and idiophase, respectively. Minimal DOT for citric acid production was about 25 mbar. Citric acid production increased steadily between 40–150 mbar. Short time changes in the DOT produced immediate, irreversible changes in the rate of product formation. Adenine nucleotides paralleled growth but showed no evidence for control function in the oxygen effect on citric acid fermentation. A branched respiratory system was identified by experiments using specific inhibitors (antimycin, cyanide, azide, rotenone, amytal and salicylhydroxamic acid). Growth was sensitive towards inhibitors of the standard respiratory chain, but only slightly sensitive towards salicylhydroxamic acid (SHAM). Citric acid synthesis was highly sensitive towards SHAM during trophophase, but sensitive towards antimycine during idiophase. Interruptions in aeration cause an impairment of the SHAM sensitive oxidase during trophophase, and of the antimycin sensitive oxidase during idiophase.