With the increasing use of granulocyte transfusion it is becoming important to determine if granulocytes can be preserved for a few days. If so, the optimum storage conditions must be identified. We studied the function in vitro of granulocytes collected as they would be for transfusion by continuous-flow centrifuge leukapheresis (CFCL) and filtration leukapheresis (FL). Granulocytes collected by CFCL maintained normal ability to phagocytose and kill bacteria after 48 hr and normal chemotaxis after 24 hr of storage at 20 degrees--24 degrees C. Neither 1 degrees--6 degrees C nor 37 degrees C were as effective in preserving chemotactic response. Agitation of the granulocyte suspension during storage caused reduced bacterial killing and chemotaxis. Granulocytes collected by FL functioned very poorly after 24 hr storage at all temperatures studied. These studies suggest that it may be possible to store CFCL granulocytes at 20 degrees--24 degrees C for 24 hr. FL granulocytes should not be stored at all.