The influence of macromolecules other than lipopolysaccharide on the hydrophobic properties of Pasteurella multocida was investigated by assessing cell surface hydrophobicity (CSH) after experimentally modifying surfaces of various strains. CSH of hydrophobic variants was enhanced by growth on blood-supplemented medium and mechanical shearing, whereas chloramphenicol, oxytetracycline, trypsin, and pronase E treatments decreased CSH. No such modifications were observed for hydrophilic strains. Microscopic observations revealed hydrophilic strains to be heavily encapsulated in contrast to hydrophobic strains. Repeated subculturing reduced encapsulation with a concomitant increase in CSH for one hydrophilic strain while exerting no changes in the other hydrophilic strain examined. Hyaluronidase removal of capsular material from a serotype A strain resulted in increased CSH; subsequent exposure to pronase E resulted in partial restoration of hydrophilicity. These data suggest the encapsulation of hydrophilic P. multocida strains masks a relatively hydrophobic surface that is conferred, at least in part, by the presence of one or more surface-exposed proteins common to both hydrophilic and hydrophobic variants.