Microscopic examination of suspension- cultured cells of Phleum pratense L., Panicum miliaceum L., Phalarisaquatica L. and Oryza sativa L. showed that they were comprised of numerous root primordia. Polysaccharides secreted by these suspension cultures contained glycosyl linkages consistent with the presence of high proportions of root mucilage-like polysaccharides. In contrast, suspension-cultured cells of Hordeum vulgare L. contained mostly undifferentiated cells more typical of plant cells in suspension culture. The polysaccharides secreted by H. vulgare cultures contained mostly linkages consistent with the presence of glucuronoarabinoxylan. The soluble polymers secreted by cell-suspension cultures of Phleum pratense contained 70% carbohydrate, 14% protein and 6% inorganic material. The extracellular polysaccharides were separated into four fractions by anion-exchange chromatography using a gradient of imidazole-HCl at pH 7.0. From glycosyl-linkage analyses, five polysaccharides were identified: an arabinosylated xyloglucan (comprising 20% of the total polysaccharide), a glucomannan (6%), a type-II arabinogalactan (an arabinogalactan-protein; 7%), an acidic xylan (3%), and a root-slime-like polysaccharide, which contained features of type-II arabinogalactans and glucuronomannans (65%).