Specific immunological reagents were used to investigate the expression of SEF17 fimbriae by cultured strains of Salmonella enteritidis. Most strains of Salm. enteritidis tested expressed SEF17 when cultured at temperatures of 18-30 degrees C. However, two wild-type strains produced SEF17 when also grown at 37 degrees C and 42 degrees C. Colonization factor antigen agar was the optimum medium for SEF17 expression, whereas Drigalski and Sensitest agars poorly supported SEF17 production. Very fine fimbriae produced by a strain of Salm. typhimurium were specifically and strongly labelled by SEF17 monoclonal and polyclonal antibodies, indicating considerable antigenic conservation between the two. Curli fimbriae from Escherichia coli were similarly labelled. The production of these fimbriae correlated with the binding of fibronectin by the organism. Congo red binding by cultured bacteria was not a reliable criterion for the expression of SEF17 fimbriae.