The activity and a few properties of catalase have been compared in the developing human placenta and fetal liver. The presence of the enzyme in both the tissues is discernible as early as in the 6th wk of gestation and the activity increases gradually with the advancement of pregnancy. Maximum enzyme activity in both placenta and fetal liver is found to be associated with the soluble supernatant fraction obtained by centrifuging the tissue homogenates at 105 000 × g. Kinetic studies reveal the enzymatic decomposition of H2O2 to follow first-order kinetics at lower substrate concentrations, and then to deviate from the original linearity, demonstrating mixed-order kinetics. Thermostability of placental catalase increases with prenatal development, while the enzyme from fetal liver remains moderately heat-stable throughout the gestation. Treatment of the homogenates with Triton X-100 is found to be most effective in increasing catalase activity in each of these tissues. © 1985.