1. The present paper constitutes a preliminary study of the morphology of mitochondria by means of electron microscopy.
2. The mitochondria that were the subject of this investigation were obtained from a lymphosarcoma of the rat. They were separated from the other components of the leukemic cells by a method of differential centrifugation, and thus made available for direct examination in the electron microscope.
3. In the purified form the mitochondria appeared as spherical bodies, the majority of them varying in size approximately from 0.6 to 1.3 µ in diameter.
4. Certain aspects of mitochondria in the electron microscope suggest that these elements are surrounded by a differentiated membrane. In some cases the limiting membrane seemed to be responsible for maintaining the general shape of the mitochondria, even when most of the mitochondrial substance had been lost.
5. By means of the electron microscope, it is possible to distinguish small elements, 80 to 100 mµ in diameter, within the body of certain mitochondria. Further work is suggested to establish whether these small granules are normal constituents of mitochondria, and what relation may exist between them and ordinary microsomes.
6. The nature of mitochondria as morphological units is discussed. Present evidence indicates that mitochondria constitute definite physical entities which can persist in the absence of the cytoplasm.