The uptake of albumin-coated latex particles by hamster pulmonary macrophages (PM) in vitro was investigated by using a new technique that combined flow cytometry and fluorescence microscopy to differentiate and quantitate bound vs ingested particles. In the absence of serum, PM avidly bound and ingested particles, whereas phagocytosis by hamster polymorphonuclear leukocytes (PMN) was less marked. In the presence of serum, phagocytosis by PM was slightly depressed, whereas phagocytosis by PMN was stimulated more than 10-fold. The binding of particles to PM in the absence of serum was pH, temperature, and trypsin sensitive and was dependent on the presence of extracellular Ca++ but not Mg++. The ingestion of particles by this immune opsonin-independent pathway was also temperature sensitive but was not affected by either pH or extracellular Ca++. Particle ingestion, but not binding, was inhibited by cytochalasin D and the divalent cation ionophore A23187.