Peritoneal exudate cells from mice infected with Schistosoma mansoni (S-PEC) can kill a small proportion of schistosomula in vitro in the presence of immune serum. S-PEC produce a low level of respiratory burst. However, schistosomula mortality in their presence is not reduced when exogenous antioxidants are added, suggesting that with S-PEC, oxidative killing may not be important. Hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) and superoxide production by S-PEC, and cells from Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) and thioglycollate (THGL) injected mice, nonspecifically stimulated with opsonized zymosan, were measured. Levels of H2O2 produced by S-PEC were significantly lower than BCG or THGL PEC, and were below the threshold for schistosomula killing. This correlated with lower levels of cell-mediated killing of schistosomula in vitro by S-PEC than by BCG-PEC. Superoxide levels, however, were similar between the 3 cell populations. It therefore appears that the efficiency of PEC to kill schistosomules in vitro correlates with H2O2 rather than superoxide levels. It was found that there was a sharp concentration threshold in H2O2 mediated killing of schistosomula. A depression in the levels of H2O2 produced may be a mechanism by which the parasite can partially evade the host immune system.