The reticulorumen is now recognised to be an important site of net absorption of phosphate ions from ruminal fluid containing phosphate concentrations appropriate to those found in normal farming practice. These rates of absorption were measured in vivo from solutions placed in the washed reticulorumen, isolated in situ, in conscious, trained sheep. Reducing the ruminal sodium concentration led to reduced absorption of phosphate, suggestive that phosphate and sodium fluxes across the apical wall of the ruminal epithelial cell are linked, as they are in the kidney. Increased absorption of short chain fatty acids led to enhanced absorption of phosphate ions. Conversely, inhibition of carbonic anhydrase activity, by the addition of 1 mM acetazolamide to the ruminal fluid, led to a reduction in phosphate absorption. An increase in the acidity of the ruminal fluid also increased the absorption of phosphate, as did an increase in the ruminal Ca2+ concentration over the range 1–4 mmol per litre. It is suggested that these effects can be accounted for by a Na+/H+ antiporter coupled with a phosphate/proton symporter in the apical membrane of the ruminal epithelial cell.