The hypothesis to be tested in this in vitro study was that the salivary micelle-like globules (SMGs) have a rôle in the agglutination of some oral bacteria. An attempt to determine the mechanisms for the interactions involved was also carried out. 4 laboratory and 4 native streptococci strains were tested. Human whole (HWS) and parotid (HPS) saliva was collected from 4 subjects, and SMGs were isolated from both salivas, and agglutination was recorded in the various bacterial suspensions over time. HPS, HWS and SMGs isolated from HPS and HWS caused typical agglutination patterns for the mutans strains. Salivary supernatants (without SMGs) caused a much delayed or no agglutination. Electron microscopy showed SMG-like structures on the surface of the agglutinated bacteria. Addition of pyrophosphate to HPS prevented agglutination, whereas guanidine HCl prevented normal agglutination of a sanguis strain, and urea had no obvious effect. Together, these results indicate that the SMGs are important in the agglutination of streptococci, and that both calcium-dependent, electrostatic and hydrophobic interactions may be involved.