A previously established in vitro pharmacodynamic system was used to evaluate the antistaphylococcal activities of five fluoroquinolones under both aerobic and anaerobic conditions. Staphylococcus aureus ATCC 29213 was exposed to a 5-μg/ml concentration of each of the following fluoroquinolones: ciprofloxacin, ofloxacin, temafloxacin, sparfloxacin, and clinafloxacin. Terminal elimination half-lives of 4, 6, 8, 8, and 13 h were simulated for the respective drugs. Each fluoroquinolone was bactericidal under both aerobic and anaerobic conditions. However, the bactericidal activity of each fluoroquinolone was delayed by anaerobiosis. This difference in fluoroquinolone activity under aerobic and anaerobic conditions could not be attributed to any particular parameter or physiochemical property but was most likely caused by a combination of factors (e.g., variations in hydrophobicity, intracellular pH, antibiotic concentration, and structure- activity relationships). Fluoroquinolone uptake studies were also performed to investigate the possibility of active, energy-dependent transport mechanisms in S. aureus ATCC 29213. Uptake studies indicated that active efflux does occur in S. aureus ATCC 29213.