Lipases are the most investigated class of enzymes in metagenomics. Phylogenetic classification of bacterial lipases comprises eight families. Here we describe the construction and screening of three metagenomic libraries from Brazilian Atlantic Forest soil and identification of a new lipase family. The metagenomic libraries, MAF1, MAF2 and MAF3, contained 34 560, 29 280 and 36 288 clones respectively. Lipase screening on triolein-rhodamine B plates resulted in one positive clone, Lip018. The DNA insert of Lip018 was fully sequenced and 20 ORFs were identified by comparison against the GenBank. Transposon mutagenesis revealed that ORF15, similar to serine peptidases, and ORF16, a hypothetical protein, were both required for lipase activity. ORF16 has a typical lipase conserved pentapeptide G-X-S-X-G and the comparison against the Pfam database showed that ORF16 belongs to family 5 of αβ-hydrolase. Phylogenetic analyses indicated that ORF16, together with other related proteins, may be a member of a new lipase family, named LipAP, activated by a putative serine protease. Partial characterization of ORF16 lipase showed that the enzyme has activity against a broad range ofp-nitrophenyl esters, but only after activation by the predicted peptidase ORF15.