Some properties of tetrachloroethene and trichloroethene dehalogenase of the recently isolated, tetrachloroethene-utilizing anaerobe, Dehalospirillum multivorans, were studied with extracts of cells grown on pyruvate plus fumarate. The dehalogenase catalyzed the oxidation of reduced methyl viologen with tetrachloroethene (PCE) or trichloroethene (TCE) as electron acceptor. All other artificial or physiological electron donors tested were ineffective. The PCE and TCE dehalogenase activity was insensitive towards oxygen in crude extracts. When extracts were incubated under anoxic conditions in the presence of titanium citrate as reducing agent, the dehalogenase was rapidly inactivated by propyl iodide (50 μM). Inactivation did not occur in the absence of titanium citrate. The activity of propyl-iodide-treated extracts was restored almost immediately by illumination. The dehalogenase was inhibited by cyanide. The inhibition profile was almost the same under oxic and anoxic conditions independent of the presence or absence of titanium citrate. In addition, N2O, nitrite, and ethylene diamine tetra-acetate (EDTA) were inhibitors of PCE and TCE dehalogenase. Carbon monoxide and azide had no influence on the dehalogenase activity. Trans-1,2-dichloroethene or 1,1-dichloroethene, both of which are isomers of the dechlorination product cis-1,2-dichloroethene, neither inhibited nor inactivated the dehalogenase. PCE and TCE dechlorination appeared to be mediated by the same enzyme since the inhibitors tested had nearly the same effects on the PCE and TCE dehalogenating activity. The data indicated the involvement of a corrinoid and possibly of an additional transition metal in reductive PCE and TCE dechlorination.