The maturation of 5S ribosomal ribonucleic acid (rRNA) in the obligately photoautotrophic unicellular blue-green alga Anacystis nidulans has been studied by using polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis and T1 ribonuclease oligonucleotide analysis. A. nidulans mature 5S rRNA (m5) is of approximately the same molecular weight as the 5S rRNA of Escherichia coli, and is derived by cleavage of a precursor (p5) containing a few (three to six) additional nucleotides. Some of these additional nucleotides occur at the 5' end of the precursor molecule; others may occur at the 3' end. Kinetic experiments indicate that precursors of mature 5S rRNA larger than p5 either do not exist or are very transient in A. nidulans. These results are discussed in relation to those obtained with other prokaryotes.