The influence of the intestinal microflora on mucin types was studied in the small intestine, caecum and colon of conventional (CV) rats as compared to germ-free (GF) rats. A colorimetric method was used on purified water-soluble mucin extracted from mucosal scrapings and contents. Variations occurred between the three anatomical sites both in the mucosas and intestinal contents of GF rats. In CV rats, the presence of the bacterial flora led to different effects depending on the intestinal site: in the small intestinal mucosa, neutral and sulphomucins values were higher whereas sialomucin was much lower. Conversely, sialomucin was higher in the caecal and colonic mucosas and contents whereas sulphated mucins were decreased significantly in caecal contents and caecal and colonic mucosas. These variations in the contents may reflect the bacterial mucolytic activity and the effect of bacterial metabolites on the mucosa.