Microcystins-LA,-LR,-RR,-YR and nodularin, cyanobacterial peptide toxins, were separated by internal-surface reversed-phase (ISRP), high-performance liquid chromatography. The capacity factors of the toxins were measured in the range pH 2-8 using acetonitrile, isopropanol or tetrahydrofuran in potassium dihydrogenphosphate mobile phase. The main retention mechanism of the ISRP column was reversed-phase interaction but cation-exchange offered additional selectivity at neutral and slightly acidic pH. At neutral pH (10% modifier, 0.1 M buffer) the elution order was microcystin-LA (two nonpolar residues leucine and alanine as the variable amino acids), nodularin, microcystin-LR,-YR and-RR (two basic arginines as the variable amino acids). The retention times of all toxins except microcystin-RR were substantially longer at acidic pH. At pH 2 (10% modifier, 0.1 M buffer) where the cation-exchange mechanism was inoperative the elution order was changed to microcystin-RR, nodularin, microcystin-LR,-YR and-LA. The best separation was achieved at pH 2 where even two desmethylated microcystin-RR analogs could be separated from microcystin-RR.