One hundred and six enterotoxigenic E. coli (ETEC) isolated from many geographical areas were serotyped and investigated for the presence of colonization factor antigens CFA/I and CFA/II, the expression of mannose-resistant haemagglutination (MRHA) and the levels of surface hydrophobicity. CFA/I was found in 6 (17%) of 36 LT+STa+ strains and in 15 (54%) of 28 STa+ strains; CFA/II was found in 16 (44%) of 36 LT+STa+ strains. None of 42 LT+ strains showed CFA/I or CFA/II. CFA/I was found in ETEC of serotypes O63:K-:H-, O78:K80, O128:K67 and O153:K:H45, whereas CFA/II was found in serotypes O6:H-, O6:K15:H16 and O6:K?:H40. Of the 69 CFA/I- CFA/II- ETEC strains, 9 (13%) showed MRHA with some of the seven erythrocyte species used and 21 (30%) were hydrophobic. Among the 21 hydrophobic strains CFA-negative we have detected: (i) 6 LT+ strains of serogroup O25 negative for MRHA, (ii) 5 strains O159 (4 LT+ and 1 LT+ STa+) also negative for MRHA, and (iii) 3 STa+ strains of serotype O27:K-:H7 that haemagglutinated calf and sheep erythrocytes when grown on Minca-Is. The 106 ETEC strains belonged to 20 different O serogroups. However, 77 (73%) were of one of nine serogroups (O6, O8, O25, O27, O78, O148, O153, O159 and O167). E. coli strains belonging to O6 and O153 groups predominated among ETEC isolated in Spain, O159 strains in the Central African Republic, O25 and O148 strains in Japan, and O15 and O78 strains in India.