Substrate specificity and other properties of a fatty acid monooxygenase system in kidney microsomes of the Japanese house musk shrew (Suncus murinus) were examined. The suncus kidney microsomes catalyzed the hydroxylation of various saturated and unsaturated fatty acids to the omega- and (omega-1)-hydroxy derivatives. Laurate was most effectively hydroxylated among saturated and unsaturated fatty acids. The specific activity (53.79 +/- 5.59 [mean +/- SD, n = 6] nmol/nmol cytochrome P450/min) of laurate in suncus kidney microsomes was very high compared with that in liver and kidney microsomes of other species. C18 unsaturated fatty acids were converted to epoxides by a cytochrome P450-dependent fatty acid monooxygenase system in suncus kidney microsomes, in addition to omega- and (omega-1)-hydroxylation products. The monooxygenase system metabolized arachidonic acid only to omega- and (omega-1)-hydroxylation products, not to epoxidation products.