A number of meso- and thermophilic anaerobic starch-degrading non-spore-forming bacteria have been isolated. All the isolates belonging to different genera are strictly anaerobic, as indicated by a catalase-negative reaction, and produce soluble starch-degrading enzymes. Compared to enzymes of aerobic bacteria, those of anaerobic origin mainly show low molecular mass of about 25 000 daltons. Some of the enzymes may have useful applications in the starch industry because of their unusual product pattern, yielding maltotetraose as the main hydrolysis product. (orig.).