SUMMARY: The walls and cell contents of a number of lactobacilli were prepared by mechanical disruption of the organisms followed by differential centrifugation. The nature of the teichoic acid present in the separated fractions was determined by extracting it with dilute trichloroacetic acid, precipitating with ethanol and identifying the precipitated polymer by hydrolysis to ribitol or glycerol phosphates and other recognizable degradation products. All the organisms contained a glycerol teichoic acid within the cell. This and similar observations with other bacteria indicates that glycerol teichoic acids play an important part in cellular metabolism. Both glycerol and ribitol teichoic acids occur in walls. The presence and type of teichoic acid in the walls correlate with the serological behaviour of lactobacilli and provide a useful means of classification. It is suggested that teichoic acids themselves may possess antigenic properties.


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