The equilibrium distribution of 5,5-dimethyloxazoladine 2,4-dione (DMO) between intra- and extracellular volume was used to estimate intracellular pH (pHi) in Tetrahymena pyiformis. In control experiments, DMO was found to equilibrate rapidly in response to a pH gradient. Under normal growth conditions, pHi was constant over a finite range of external pH, being maintained near pH 7.1 over the external pH range 5.2 to 7.3. This same range of external pH was also optimal for growth. pHi was monitored during the cell cycle of a synchronous population of T. pyriformis GL. The cells were synchronized either by starvation/refeeding or heat shock. Under both conditions, there were two alkaline shifts of approximately 0.4 pH units per cell cycle. These shifts in pH retained a constant remporal relationship to S phase and were not affected by changes in the time, duration, or magnitude of cytokinesis.