The addition of the disaccharides maltose (10, 20, 30 mM) and sucrose (30, 60 mM) to Bretschneider's organ protective HTK solution was evaluated to improve renal protection by an enhanced glycolytic energy supply. Canine kidneys were perfused for 8 min with either HTK solution or HTK solution containing additional disaccharides. After nephrectomy the kidneys were incubated at 25 degrees C and metabolic parameters were determined at regular intervals. Maltose and sucrose are slowly cleaved during renal ischemia but maltose distinctly faster than sucrose. Maltose increases intraischemic ATP supply. However, 30 mM maltose was no better than 10 mM. 60 mM sucrose was about as effective for glycolysis as 10 mM maltose. However, possibly due to fructose release there was an accelerated decrease of adenine nucleotides with sucrose. Although fructose enters glycolysis it seems to have negative side-effects. Hence, probably neither sucrose nor fructose are appropriate for renal substrate supply during ischemia.