Macromolecular material from the slime layer of the cyanobacterium Microcystis flos-aquae C3-40 was defined as material that adhered to cells during centrifugation in growth medium but was dislodged by washing with deionized water and retained within dialysis tubing with a molecular-weight cutoff of 3,500. At each step of this isolation procedure, the slime was observed microscopically. Cells in the centrifugal pellet were surrounded by large amounts of slime that excluded negative stain, whereas cells that had been washed with water lacked visible slime. Two independently isolated lots of slime contained no detectable protein (<1%, wt/wt) and consisted predominantly of anthrone-reacting polysaccharide. Sugars in a hydrolysate of slime polysaccharide were derivatized with trimethylsilylimidazole and examined by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. The composition of the slime polysaccharide was 1.5% (wt/wt) galactose, 2.0% glucose, 3.0% xylose, 5.0% mannose, 5.5% rhamnose, and 83% galacturonic acid. This composition resembles that of the plant polysaccharide pectin, which was treated in parallel as a control. Consistent with earlier indications that M. flos-aquae slime preferentially binds certain cations, the ratio of Fe to Na in the dialyzed slime was 104 times that in the growth medium. The composition of the slime is discussed with respect to possible mechanisms of cation binding in comparison with other cyanobacterial exopolysaccharides and pectin.