Various inhibitors of polyamine biosynthesis were used to study the role of polyamines in DNA synthesis and cell division in suspension cultures of Catharanthus roseus (L.) G. Don. Arginine decarboxylase (ADC; EC 18.104.22.168) was the major enzyme responsible for putrescine production. DL α-difluoromethylarginine inhibited ADC activity, cellular putrescine content, DNA synthesis, and cell division. The effect was reversible by exogenous putrescine. Ornithine decarboxylase (ODC; EC 22.214.171.124) activity was always less than 10% of the ADC activity. Addition of DL α-difluoromethylornithine had no effect on ODC activity, cellular polyamine levels, DNA synthesis, and cell division within the first 24 h but by 48 to 72 h it did inhibit these activities. Methylglyoxal bis(guanyl-hydrazone) inhibited S-adenosylmethionine decarboxylase (EC 126.96.36.199) activity without affecting DNA synthesis and cell division.