The kinetics of the alkaline phosphatase catalyzed hydrolysis of disodium p-nitrphenyl phosphate was studied at 25 degreesC in the presence of the carbohydrates sucrose, fructose, lactose, maltodextrin (DE = 13-17), carboxymethylcellulose (CMC), and CMC-lactose (in 1:1 proportion) at different concentrations and in the presence of sucrose at two different concentrations in a temperature range between 25 and -10 degreesC in subcooled and frozen systems. The objective was to determine whether the reaction is diffusion-controlled, to gain an insight about the factors that determine the diffusion of the reaction species, to understand the mechanism through which the different carbohydrate additives affect the kinetics of the reaction, and to determine the effect of low temperature and freezing on the structural conformation of the enzyme. It was found that the alkaline phosphatase catalyzed hydrolysis of DNPP under the condition studied is at least partially diffusion-controlled. The results also indicate that the diffusion is not controlled by the macroviscosity of the reaction media. The concentration and type of the molecules that constitute the background matrix seem to be the main factors governing the reaction. The results indicate that the different carbohydrates affect the kinetics of the reaction through the excluded volume effect of molecular crowding and decreased substrate and product diffusion rate and not through nonspecific solute effects, which may cause protein denaturation and alteration in enzyme activity. Low temperature does not seem to affect the structural conformation of the enzyme in the temperature range studied, whereas freezing affected the catalytic properties of the enzyme perhaps through its effect on the structural conformation of the enzyme.