Metabolic transformations of glutamate and Casamino Acids by natural microbial populations collected from deep waters (1,600 to 3,100 m) were studied in decompressed and undecompressed samples. Pressure-retaining sampling/incubation vessels and appropriate subsampling/incubation vessels and appropriate subsampling techniques permitted time course experiments. In all cases the metabolic activity in undecompressed samples was lower than it was when incubated at 1 atm. Surface water controls showed a reduced activity upon compression. The processes involving substrate incorporation into cell material were more pressure sensitive than was respiration. The low utilization of substrates, previously found by in situ incubations for up to 12 months, was confirmed and demonstrated to consist of an initial phase of activity, in the range of 5 to 60 times lower than the controls, followed by a stationary phase of virtually no substrate utilization. No barophilic growth response (higher rates at elevated pressure than at 1 atm) was recorded; all populations observed exhibition various degrees of barotolerance.