An experimental white cast iron with the unprecedented fracture tough ness of 40 MPa m(1/2) is currently being studied to determine the mechanisms of toughening. This paper reports the investigation of the role of strain-induced martensitic (SIM) transformation. The dendritic microconstituent in the toughened alloy consists primarily of retained austenite, with precipitated M(7)C(3) carbides and some martensite. Refrigeration experiments and differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) were used to demonstrate, firstly, that this retained austenite has an ''effective'' sub-ambient M(S) temperature and, secondly, that SIM transformation can occur at ambient temperatures. Comparison between room temperature and elevated temperature K-Ic tests showed that the observed SIM produces a transformation toughening response in the alloy, contributing to, but not fully accounting for, its high tough ness. SIM as a mechanism for transformation toughening has not previously been reported for white cast irons. Microhardness traverses on crack paths and X-ray diffraction (XRD) on fracture surfaces confirmed the interpretation of the K-Ic experiments. Further DSC and quantitative XRD showed that, as heat-treatment temperature is varied, there is a correlation between fracture toughness and the volume fraction of unstable retained austenite.