The occurrence of phosphate-containing sialyl oligosaccharides in bovine colostrum was investigated. Two major sialyl oligosaccharide phosphates were identified, one of which was structurally similar to the previously characterized sialyl oligosaccharide 1-phosphates of human urine. The second sialyl oligosaccharide phosphate of bovine colostrum was found to be of a novel type. Structural studies including monosaccharide and phosphate analysis, glycosidase and phosphatase treatments, methylation analysis, and periodate treatment indicated the structure of this compound to be NeuAc alpha 2-6Gal beta 1-4GlcNAc-6-P. This provides the first evidence for the occurrence of N-acetylglucosamine 6-phosphate as an integral component in complex carbohydrates.