Aerobic bacterial growth on aromatic hydrocarbons typically requires oxygenase enzymes, which are known to fortuitously oxidize nongrowth substrates. In this study, we found that oxidation of diethyl ether by toluene 2-monooxygenase supported more rapid growth of Burkholderia cepacia G4/PR1 than did the aromatic substrates n-propylbenzene and o-xylene. The wild-type Burkholderia cepacia G4 failed to grow on diethyl ether. Purified toluene 2-monooxygenase protein components oxidized diethyl ether stoichiometrically to ethanol and acetaldehyde. Butyl methyl ether, diethyl sulfide, and 2-chloroethyl ethyl ether were oxidized by B. cepacia G4/PR1.