1. Isoflavones are naturally occurring oestrogenic compounds found in plants, where they exist in the glycosylated form. A proportion of ingested glycosides appears to be absorbed in the upper gastrointestinal tract, where enterocytes play an important role in their metabolism. 2. One hypothesis is that ingestion may involve hydrolysis by the luminally exposed enzyme lactase phlorizin hydrolase (LPH), an enzyme expressed specifically at the small intestinal brush border. 3. Using an everted sac preparation of rat jejunum and an inhibitor of LPH, we investigated the absorption of daidzein-O7-glucoside (daidzin) and the effect of LPH inhibition on this process. It was demonstrated that LPH plays a major role in the deglycosylation of daidzin. 4. The hydrolysis product, daidzein, is absorbed by epithelial cells and glucuronidated to daidzein-O7-glucuronide, which is subsequently exported primarily to the serosal (vascular) side of the tissue rather than to the luminal side. 5. A small but significant proportion of the intact glycoside is also transferred to the serosal compartment, and in the presence of an LPH inhibitor this was enhanced with a corresponding reduction in deglucosylation and glucuronidation. 6. The results indicate that that LPH plays an important role in the metabolism of glycosylated phytochemicals, and that the expression and activity of this enzyme in the small intestine can modify the profile of metabolites appearing in the circulation.