The TrzN protein, which is involved in s-triazine herbicide catabolism by Arthrobacter aurescens TC1, was cloned and expressed in Escherichia coli as a His-tagged protein. The recombinant protein was purified via nickel column chromatography. The purified TrzN protein was tested with 31 s-triazine and pyrimidine ring compounds; 22 of the tested compounds were substrates. TrzN showed high activity with sulfur-substituted s-triazines and the highest activity with ametryn sulfoxide. Hydrolysis of ametryn sulfoxide by TrzN, both in vitro and in vivo, yielded a product(s) that reacted with 7-chloro-4-nitrobenz-2-oxa-1,3-diazole (NBD-Cl) to generate a diagnostic blue product. Atrazine chlorohydrolase, AtzA, did not hydrolyze ametryn sulfoxide, and no color was formed by amending those enzyme incubations with NBD-Cl. TrzN and AtzA could also be distinguished by reaction with ametryn. TrzN, but not AtzA, hydrolyzed ametryn to methylmercaptan. Methylmercaptan reacted with NBD-Cl to produce a diagnostic yellow product having an absorption maximum at 420 nm. The yellow color with ametryn was shown to selectively demonstrate the presence of TrzN, but not AtzA or other enzymes, in whole microbial cells. The present study was the first to purify an active TrzN protein in recombinant form and develop a colorimetric test for determining TrzN activity, and it significantly extends the known substrate range for TrzN.