Lysine, threonine, methionine and isoleucine are synthesized from aspartate in a branched pathway in higher plants. Aspartate kinase plays a key role in the control of the aspartate pathway. The enzyme is very sensitive to manipulation and storage and the hydroxamate assay normally used to determine aspartate kinase activity has to be altered according to the plant species and tissue to be analyzed. We have optimized the assay for the determination of aspartate kinase in maize plants callus cell cultures. Among all the assay parameters tested, the concentration of ATP/Mg and temperature were critical for enzyme activity. In the case of temperature, 35°C was shown to be the optimum temperature for aspartate kinase activity.