In order to ascertain whether or not the presence of glycosaminoglycans in sputa of patients suffering from chronic bronchial disorders was related to tracheobronchial infection, an electrophoretic procedure was set up. The different acidic macromolecular components of sputum, namely nucleic acids, glycosaminoglycans, and bronchial glycopeptides could be identified in proteolyzed sputum using agarose electrophoresis before and after the action of different enzymes: nucleases, chondroitinases, hyaluronidase and heparinase. This procedure was used to analyze 13 sputum samples from patients suffering from cystic fibrosis (CF) and 12 sputum samples from patients suffering from chronic bronchitis. Chondroitin sulfate was identified in 11 infected sputum samples from patients with CF and also in the noninfected sputum from a patient with chronic bronchitis. These data suggest a relationship between the presence of chondroitin sulfate proteoglycans in sputum and severe tracheobronchial infection in CF.