Interaction of formononetin with a model transport protein, human serum albumin (HSA), has been studied using fluorescence anisotropy, FT-IR spectroscopy, and molecular modeling methods. Upon binding with HSA, the fluorescence spectrum of formononetin exhibits appreciable hypsochromic shift along with an enhancement in the fluorescence intensity. Gradual addition of HSA led to a marked increase in fluorescence anisotropy (r). From the value of fluorescence anisotropy, it is argued that the drug is located in a restricted environment of protein. The binding constant (K approximately 1.6 x 10(5) M(-1)) and the standard free energy change (DeltaG(0) approximately -29.9 kJ/mol) of formononetin-HSA interaction have been calculated according to the relevant fluorescence data. Fourier transform infrared measurements have shown that the secondary structures of the protein have been changed by the interaction of formononetin with HSA. Computational mapping of the possible binding sites of formononetin revealed the molecule to be bound in the large hydrophobic cavity of subdomain IIA.