The sensitivity of N2 fixation to drought stress in soybean (Glycine max Merr.) has been shown to be associated with high ureide accumulation in the shoots, which has led to the hypothesis that N2 fixation during drought is decreased by a feedback mechanism. The ureide feedback hypothesis was tested directly by measuring the effect of 10 mM ureide applied by stem infusion or in the nutrient solution of hydroponically grown plants on acetylene reduction activity (ARA). An almost complete inhibition of ARA was observed within 4 to 7 d after treatment, accompanied by an increase in ureide concentration in the shoot but not in the nodules. The inhibition of ARA resulting from ureide treatments was dependent on the concentration of applied ureide. Urea also inhibited ARA but asparagine resulted in the greatest inhibition of nodule activity. Because ureides did not accumulate in the nodule upon ureide treatment, it was concluded that they were not directly inhibitory to the nodules but that their influence mediated through a derivative compound, with asparagine being a potential candidate. Ureide treatment resulted in a continual decrease in nodule permeability to O2 simultaneous with the inhibition of nitrogenase activity during a 5-d treatment period, although it was not clear whether the latter phenomenon was a consequence or a cause of the decrease in the nodule permeability to O2.