Peroxisomal beta-oxidation is involved in the degradation of long chain and very long chain fatty acyl-(coenzyme A)CoAs, long chain dicarboxylyl-CoAs, the CoA esters of eicosanoids, 2-methyl-branched fatty acyl-CoAs (e.g. pristanoyl-CoA), and the CoA esters of the bile acid intermediates di- and trihydroxycoprostanic acids (side chain of cholesterol). In the rat, straight chain acyl-CoAs (including the CoA esters of dicarboxylic fatty acids and eicosanoids) are beta-oxidized via palmitoyl-CoA oxidase, multifunctional protein-1 (which displays 2-enoyl-CoA hydratase and L-3-hydroxyacyl-CoA dehydrogenase activities) and peroxisomal thiolase. 2-Methyl-branched acyl-CoAs are degraded via pristanoyl-CoA oxidase, multifunctional protein-2 (MFP-2) (which displays 2-enoyl-CoA hydratase and D-3-hydroxyacyl-CoA dehydrogenase activities) and sterol carrier protein-X (SCPX; displaying 2-methyl-3-oxoacyl-CoA thiolase activity). The side chain of the bile acid intermediates is shortened via one cycle of beta-oxidation catalyzed by trihydroxycoprostanoyl-CoA oxidase, MFP-2 and SCPX. In the human, straight chain acyl-CoAs are oxidized via palmitoyl-CoA oxidase, multifunctional protein-1, and peroxisomal thiolase, as is the case in the rat. The CoA esters of 2-methyl-branched acyl-CoAs and the bile acid intermediates, which also possess a 2-methyl substitution in their side chain, are shortened via branched chain acyl-CoA oxidase (which is the human homolog of trihydroxycoprostanoyl-CoA oxidase), multifunctional protein-2, and SCPX. The rat and the human enzymes have been purified, cloned, and kinetically and stereochemically characterized. 3-Methyl-branched fatty acids such as phytanic acid are not directly beta-oxidizable because of the position of the methyl-branch. They are first shortened by one carbon atom through the a-oxidation process to a 2-methyl-branched fatty acid (pristanic acid in the case of phytanic acid), which is then degraded via peroxisomal beta-oxidation. In the human and the rat, alpha-oxidation is catalyzed by an acyl-CoA synthetase (producing a 3-methylacyl-CoA), a 3-methylacyl-CoA 2-hydroxylase (resulting in a 2-hydroxy-3-methylacyl-CoA), and a 2-hydroxy-3-methylacyl-CoA lyase that cleaves the 2-hydroxy-3-methylacyl-CoA into a 2-methyl-branched fatty aldehyde and formyl-CoA. The fatty aldehyde is dehydrogenated by an aldehyde dehydrogenase to a 2-methyl-branched fatty acid while formyl-CoA is hydrolyzed to formate, which is then converted to CO2. The activation, hydroxylation and cleavage reactions, and the hydrolysis of formyl-CoA are performed by peroxisomal enzymes; the aldehyde dehydrogenation remains to be localized whereas the conversion of formate to CO2 occurs mainly in the cytosol.