The critical micellar concentration (CMC) of stearoylcarnitine was determined at different pH values at room temperature by fluorescence spectroscopy, monitoring the spectral changes of 8-anilinonaphthalene-1- sulfonate (ANS). The CMC was found to vary with pH, increasing from about 10 μM at pH 3.0 to ca. 25 μM at pH 7.0, but decreasing slightly with further increase in pH to approximately 19 μM at pH 10.0. Differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) shows that stearoylcarnitine dispersed in water at low concentration undergoes a broad thermotropic phase transition at 44.5°C, with a transition enthalpy of 15.0 kcal/mol. The transition temperature (T t) shifts to ca. 50.5°C in the presence of 1 mM EDTA or when the concentration is increased significantly. The turbidity of aqueous dispersions of stearoylcarnitine was found to be considerably high at low temperatures, which decreases quite abruptly over a short temperature range, indicating that a transition occurs from a phase of large aggregates to one of much smaller aggregates, most likely micelles. The phase transition temperature was determined as 29.1°C at pH 3.0, which increased with increasing pH up to a value of 55.3°C at pH 8.6 and remains nearly constant thereafter up to pH 11.2. The pH dependence of CMC and Tt suggest that the pKa of the carboxyl group of long chain acylcarnitines shifts to higher temperatures upon aggregation (micelles or bilayer membranes). © 2006 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC.