Oleic acid has been reported as a good inducer of lipase production by Candida rugosa. In order to know if this enzyme is induced by oleic acid itself or by a metabolite, different short chain fatty acids were tested. Butyric acid was the best carbon source to growth microorganism but it did not induce lipase production. Although caprylic and capric acid were the best inducers of lipase production, at concentrations up 1 g/l they have toxic effect in Candida rugosa growth. Thus, from the point of view of industrial production oleic acid could be considered as the best substrate tested. © 1993 Chapman & Hall.