Despite its typically gram-negative cell envelope ultrastructure, Pasteurella multocida is susceptible to the hydrophobic antibiotic novobiocin and is unable to initiate growth on MacConkey agar, a parameter often used to effect its differentiation from other membranes of the family Pasteurellaceae such as Actinobacillus lignieresii. However, growth on basal medium supplemented with individual selective factors and an agar diffusion assay revealed the bile salts contained in MacConkey agar to be toxic to both organisms. Four P. multocida surface hydrophobicity variants exhibited consistent in vitro susceptibility to the hydrophobic antibiotics novobiocin, rifamycin SV, and actinomycin D as determined by broth dilution. Readily extractable lipid fractions were obtained by chloroform-methanol extraction of freeze-dried whole cells from exponential-phase cultures. No major differences in total cellular readily extractable lipid content were observed among the P. multocida and A. lignieresii strains examined, although hydrophobic P. multocida strains appeared to contain slightly more than did hydrophilic strains. Analytical thin-layer chromatography and quantitation of resolved readily extractable lipid components revealed the major cell envelope phospholipids of both organisms to be phosphatidylethanolamine and phosphatidylglycerol in a molar ratio of approximately 4:1 regardless of cell surface hydrophobicity properties. Similar results were obtained for Pseudomonas aeruginosa, which is notably refractory to hydrophobic molecules. These data support the conclusion that the permeability of the P. multocida cell envelope to structurally unrelated, hydrophobic molecules is not dependent on cell surface hydrophobicity and cannot be explained on the basis of anomalous polar lipid composition.