Transcriptomic and proteomic studies have improved our knowledge of guard cell function; however, metabolic changes in guard cells remain relatively poorly understood. Here we analysed metabolic changes in guard cell-enriched epidermal fragments from tobacco during light-induced stomatal opening. Increases in sucrose, glucose and fructose were observed during light-induced stomatal opening in the presence of sucrose in the medium while no changes in starch were observed, suggesting that the elevated fructose and glucose levels were a consequence of sucrose rather than starch breakdown. Conversely, reduction in sucrose was observed during light- plus potassium-induced stomatal opening. Concomitant with the decrease in sucrose, we observed an increase in the level as well as in the (13) C enrichment in metabolites of, or associated with, the tricarboxylic acid cycle following incubation of the guard cell-enriched preparations in (13) C-labelled bicarbonate. Collectively, the results obtained support the hypothesis that sucrose is catabolized within guard cells in order to provide carbon skeletons for organic acid production. Furthermore, they provide a qualitative demonstration that CO2 fixation occurs both via ribulose-1,5-biphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase (Rubisco) and phosphoenolpyruvate carboxylase (PEPcase). The combined data are discussed with respect to current models of guard cell metabolism and function.