The effect of varied zinc (Zn) supply on the activities of superoxide dismutase (SOD), ascorbate (AsA) peroxidase, glutathione (GSSG) reductase, catalase and guaiacol peroxidase was studied in leaves of bean (Phaseolus vulgaris) plants grown for 15 days in nutrient solution. Zinc deficiency severely decreased plant growth and the leaf concentrations of soluble protein and chlorophyll. Resupply of Zn to deficient plants for up to 72h restored protein concentrations more rapidly than chlorophyll and plant growth. With the exception of guaiacol peroxidase, the activities of all enzymes were significantly decreased by Zn deficiency, in particular GSSG reductase and SOD. Within 72h of resupplying Zn to deficient plants, the enzyme activities reached the level of the Zn sufficient plants. The results indicate severe impairment in the ability of Zn-deficient leaves to enzymically scavenge O-2 and H2O2. Consequences and reasons of this impairment are discussed in terms of photooxidation of chloroplast pigments and inhibition of the biosynthesis of the related scavenger enzyme proteins.