From a variety of undifferentiated plant cell suspensions, 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid-dependent cells of sunflower (Helianthus annuus L. Spanners Allzweck) produced large quantities of ethylene. The maximum rate was about 1 nanomole x gram fresh weight(-1) x hour(-1) during the exponential growth phase. The action of various compounds known to interfere with ethylene formation in plant tissue was studied in sunflower cell suspensions. The influence on ethylene, 1-aminocyclopropanecarboxylic acid (ACC), and N-malonyl-ACC (MACC) levels suggested that the final steps in ethylene synthesis resemble those of other plant systems. This makes sunflower cells suitable for analyzing the effects of biologically active compounds on cellular ethylene biosynthesis. In particular, plant growth retardants of the norbornenodiazetine and triazole type inhibited ethylene production of sunflower cells. On the other hand, the ACC level was considerably elevated while that of MACC did not change significantly. It is assumed that the conversion of ACC to ethylene catalyzed by the ethylene-forming enzyme was influenced.