Staphylococcus aureus and coagulase-negative staphylococci, primarily Staphylococcus epidermidis, are recognized as a major cause of nosocomial infections associated with the use of implanted medical devices. It has been established that clinical isolates often produce a biofilm, which is involved in adherence to biomaterials and provides enhanced resistance of bacteria against host defenses and antibiotic treatments. It has been thought that the staphylococcal biofilm contains two polysaccharides, one responsible for primary cell adherence to biomaterials (polysaccharide/adhesin [PS/A]) and an antigen that mediates bacterial aggregation (polysaccharide intercellular adhesin [PIA]). In the present paper we present an improved procedure for preparation of PIA that conserves its labile substituents and avoids contamination with by-products. Based on structural analysis of the polysaccharide antigens and a thorough overview of the previously published data, we concluded that PIA from S. epidermidis is structurally identical to the recently described poly-beta-(1-->6)-N-acetylglucosamine from PS/A-overproducing strain S. aureus MN8m. We also show that another carbohydrate-containing polymer, extracellular teichoic acid (EC TA), is an essential component of S. epidermidis RP62A biofilms. We demonstrate that the relative amounts of extracellular PIA and EC TA produced depend on the growth conditions. Moderate shaking or static culture in tryptic soy broth favors PIA production, while more EC TA is produced in brain heart infusion medium.