Soybean lipoxygenase was reacted with phosphatidylcholine (at pH 9, with 10 mM deoxycholate), and the oxygenation products were analyzed by high-pressure liquid chromatography, UV, gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS), and NMR. The structures of the intact glycerolipid products were established by GC-MS of diglycerides recovered by phospholipase C hydrolysis and by proton NMR of the intact phosphatidylcholine. These analyses, together with analyses of the transesterified fatty acids, indicated that arachidonyl and linoleoyl moieties in the phosphatidylcholine were converted exclusively to the 15(S)-hydroperoxy-5(Z),8(Z),11(Z),13(E)-eicosatetraenoate and 13(S)-hydroperoxy-9(Z),11(E)-octadecadienoate analogues, respectively. Control experiments proved that the intact phospholipid (and not hydrolyzed/reesterified fatty acid) was the true substrate of the oxygenation reaction. Phosphatidylethanolamine and phosphatidylinositol lipids were also substrates for specific oxygenation by the soybean lipoxygenase. The results provide concrete evidence that fatty acids esterified in phospholipid can be subject to highly specific oxygenation by a lipoxygenase enzyme.