The capsular polysaccharide (SIII) of type III pneumococci was removed enzymatically, and the cells thus deprived of preformed SIII were washed and examined for capacity to synthesize SIII anew. The washed, decapsulated cocci lost their capacity to be agglutinated in type-specific antiserum but again became agglutinable and formed readily measurable amounts of SIII, after suspension in a solution containing only glucose and salts.
Maximal SIII synthesis required the presence of glucose, magnesium, potassium and phosphate ions, and oxygen. Other fermentable sugars could be substituted for glucose but then the yield of SIII was reduced. Synthesis of SIII occurred anaerobically but was increased four- to fivefold by oxygenation of the suspension. The effects of pH and of enzyme poisons on the capacity of the cocci to form SIII are described.