The effect of the simple and complex basic components of a fermentation medium on the surface properties of Lactobacillus acidophilus NCC2628 is studied by physicochemical methods, such as electrophoresis, interfacial adhesion, and X-ray photonelectron spectroscopy, and by transmission electron microscopy. Starting from an optimized complete medium, the effect of carbohydrates, peptones, and yeast extracts on the physicochemical properties of the cell wall is systematically investigated by consecutively omitting one of the principal components from the fermentation medium at the time. The physicochemical properties and structure of the bacterial cell wall remain largely unchanged if the carbohydrate content of the fermentation medium is strongly reduced, although the concentration of surface proteins increases slightly. Both peptone and yeast extract have a considerable influence on the bacterial cell wall, as witnessed by changes in surface charge, hydrophobicity, and the nitrogen-to-carbon ratio. Both zeta potential and the cell wall hydrophobicity show a positive correlation with the nitrogen-to-carbon ratio of the bacterial surfaces, indicative of the important role of surface proteins in the overall surface physical chemistry. The hydrophobicity of the cell wall, which is low for the cultures grown in the complete medium and in the absence of carbohydrates, becomes fairly high for the cultures grown in the medium without peptones and the medium without yeast extract. UV spectrophotometry and sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis combined with liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry are used to analyze the effect of medium composition on LiCl-extractable cell wall proteins, confirming the major change in protein composition of the cell wall for the culture fermented in the medium without peptones. In particular, it is found that expression of the S-layer protein is dependent on the protein source of the fermentation medium.