Carotovoricin Er has been isolated as a phage-tail-like bacteriocin from the plant pathogen Erwinia carotovora Er [Kamimiya, S. et al., (1977), Agric. Biol. Chem. 41, 911-912]. However, the fine morphology and structural composition of carotovoricin Er remained to be studied because a large amount of contracted carotovoricin Er were present in the bacteriocin preparations so far obtained. To obtain intact carotovoricin Er and its major parts, we developed simple and efficient purification methods including the use of sucrose density gradient centrifugation in the presence of 10-20% (v/v) ethanol. Electron microscopy for the purified carotovoricin Er showed the presence of a novel antenna-like structure at the proximal end of the phage-tail-like particle, which consisted of a sheath-and-core part, a baseplate, and tail fibers. Contracted sheath and inner core were purified as hollow cylindrical structures with longitudinal lengths of 69 and 174 nm, respectively, and tail fibers were purified as a fibrous structure with length of 63 nm. SDS-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis showed the presence of single major proteins of 50, 20, and 68 kDa in the isolated sheath, core, and tail fiber, respectively. Three other minor proteins of 46, 44, and 35 kDa were also identified as the structural proteins of carotovoricin Er, which may be the candidate proteins for the antenna-like and the base plate structures. Thus carotovoricin Er consists of at least 6 protein components.