In this study, superoxide formation was not immediately detected when polymorphonuclear leukocytes were treated with linoleyl alcohol-coated, carboxy-modified latex beads. However, all other measures of neutrophil activation were present. Superoxide was not detected until 30 min after the initial exposure to beads. However, an O2(-)-producing, NADPH-dependent oxidase is active 15 min after exposure. When polymorphonuclear leukocytes are pretreated with cytochalasin B, superoxide production is detected immediately after exposure to the beads. Superoxide secretion after treatment with linoleyl alcohol-coated latex beads is compared with the response to other latex beads. The results imply that neutrophils form a phagolysosome around linoleyl alcohol-coated latex beads that is tightly sealed and does not allow superoxide to escape into the medium where it could be detected by the reduction of ferricytochrome c.