Acetoacetyl coenzyme A (acetoacetyl-CoA) thiolase, an enzyme required for short-chain fatty acid degradation, has been purified to near homogeneity from Caulobacter crescentus. The relative heat stability of this enzyme allowed it to be separated from beta-ketoacyl-CoA thiolase. The purification scheme minus the heating step also permitted the copurification of crotonase and 3-hydroxyacyl-CoA dehydrogenase. These activities are in a multienzyme complex in Escherichia coli, but a similar complex was not observed in C. crescentus. Instead, separate proteins differing in enzymatic activity were detected, analogous to the beta-oxidation enzymes that have been isolated from Clostridium acetobutylicum and from mitochondria of higher eucaryotes. In these cells, as appears to be the case with C. crescentus, the individual enzymes form multimers of identical subunits.