On the basis of nucleic acid relationships, the family Neisseriaceae consists of the genera Neisseria, Kingella, Simonsiella and of Alysiella filiformis, Eikenella corrodens, and the CDC groups EF-4 and M-5. Differentiation, especially of the new members of the family, by conventional phenotypic characteristics is difficult and in some cases leads to doubtful results. On the other hand, cellular components proved to be suitable for the characterization of bacterial taxa. We investigated the cellular carbohydrates derived from whole cell hydrolysates of the above mentioned taxa with the exception of Neisseria by gas chromatography/mass-spectrometry. The analysis revealed characteristic patterns for all taxa considered, although with some species of which only few strains were investigated so far only preliminary results could be established. With the method used, the carbohydrate analysis could be completed within six hours starting from a pure culture. All strains investigated exhibited a common pattern with ribose, arabinose, glucose, and galactose. Qualitative and quantitative differences in contents of fucose, sorbose, rhamnose, threose, heptose, galactosamine and an amino sugar similar to glucosamine discriminated members of the taxa investigated. To achieve a taxonomically precise differentiation of the species investigated by conventional phenotypic features as available in commercial rapid test kits, these tests should be completed by the carbohydrate analysis technique presented.