Phototrophic sulfur bacteria taken from different habitate (Alum Rock State Park, Palo Alto salt marsh, and Big Soda Lake) were grown on selective media, characterized by morphological and pigment analysis, and compared with bacteria maintained in pure culture. A study was made of the anaerobic reduction of intracellular sulfur globules by a phototrophic sulfur bacterium (Chromatium vinosum) and a filamentous aerobic sulfur bacterium (Beggiatoa alba). Buoyant densities of different bacteria were measured in Percoll gradients. This method was also used to separate different chlorobia in mixed cultures and to assess the relative homogeneity of cultures taken directly or enriched from natural samples (including the purple bacterial layer found at a depth of 20 meters at Big Soda Lake.) Interactions between sulfide oxidizing bacteria were studied.