Microshoots of `McIntosh' apple (Malus domestica Borkh.) were grown on Murashige-Skoog (MS) nutrient medium supplemented with either sucrose or sorbitol or with sucrose and an elevated level of cytokinin. Shoot growth was recorded and concentrations of fructose, glucose, sorbitol, and sucrose were analyzed in nutrient media and shoots during a 6-week subculture period. Axillary branching was stimulated by high cytokinin and sorbitol media, with increased biomass production and carbohydrate use on the high-BA medium only. The sucrose in the nutrient medium was hydrolyzed to fructose and glucose, which were equally taken up by shoots. Sorbitol was taken up somewhat less effectively. The elevated level of BA decreased sucrose hydrolysis in the nutrient medium. There were high concentrations of sorbitol in shoots grown on the sorbitol medium, and sorbitol also accumulated at the end of the culture period in shoots grown on sucrose. The amount of sucrose was low, and glucose was more abundant than fructose in microshoots. The starch content of leaves was not affected by treatments or sampling time. Chemical names used: N6-benzyladenine (BA).