The structure of the lipopolysaccharide from the Pasteurella multocida strain VP161 was elucidated. The lipopolysaccharide was subjected to a variety of degradative procedures. The structures of the purified products were established by monosaccharide and methylation analyses, NMR spectroscopy and mass spectrometry. The following structures for the lipopolysaccharides were determined on the basis of the combined data from these experiments. [structure: see text]. Based on the NMR data, all sugars were found in pyranose ring forms, and Kdo is 2-keto-3-deoxy-octulosonic acid, L-alpha-D-Hep is L-glycero-D-manno-heptose, PPEtn is pyrophosphoethanolamine and PCho is phosphocholine. Intriguingly, when the O- and fully deacylated LPS was examined, it was evident that there was variability in the arrangement of the Kdo region of the molecule. Glycoforms were found with a Kdo-P moiety, as well as glycoforms elaborating a Kdo-Kdo group. Furthermore the Glc II residue was not attached to Hep I when two Kdo residues were present, but it was attached when the Kdo-P arrangement was elaborated, suggesting a biosynthetic incompatibility due to either steric hindrance or an inappropriate acceptor conformation. This variation in the Kdo region of the LPS was also observed in several other Pasteurella multocida strains investigated including the genome strain Pm70.