The metabolic response of the rat liver to flushing and reflushing with Marshall's solution at pH 7.2 or pH 7.8 has been studied by 31P nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. The changes in intracellular pH, inorganic phosphate, ATP and phosphomonoesters have been determined from the 31P spectra. We show that the intracellular pH at any stage of the flushing protocol is largely independent of the pH of the medium when using these solutions. However, we demonstrate that there are differences between the efficiency of the two solutions in respect of the rates of hydrolysis of ATP and accumulation of phosphomonoesters. There were also differences in the response of the livers upon reflushing--those livers reflushed at pH 7.2 resynthesized ATP from a lower initial concentration to achieve ATP concentrations similar to those restored in livers reflushed at pH 7.8. These trends were mirrored in the responses of the phosphomonoester peaks (which contain a contribution from AMP). We conclude that short-term control of liver metabolism during hypothermia is possible by use of solutions of different pH, but that for longer-term storage, other approaches may be necessary to maintain metabolic integrity.