Vanillin cultures of Clostridium formicoaceticum produced higher cell densities than did vanillate cultures. During growth at the expense of vanillin, vanillate was the predominat intermediate formed; 3,4-dihydroxybenzaldehyde was not a significantly detectable intermediate. Acetate and protocatechuate were both produced in equimolar ratio relative to vanillin consumption. 4-Hydroxybenzaldehyde was a growth-supportive aromatic compound for both C. formicoaceticum and Clostridium aceticum (doubling times approximated 5 h), was oxidized stoichiometrically to 4-hydroxybenzoate, and was not appreciably toxic at concentrations up to 15 mM. Acetate was (i) the major reduced end product detected concomitant to growth and to benzaldehyde oxidation and (ii) formed in close approximation to the following stoichiometry: 4 4-hydroxybenzaldehyde + 2CO2+2H2O→4 4-hydroxybenzoate + CH3COOH. We conclude that these two acetogens are capable of benzaldehyde-coupled acetogenesis and growth.