Abstract A unique glucan has been isolated from a recombinant strain of a Rhizobium meliloti TY7, a cyclic β-(1 → 2) glucan mutant carrying a locus specifying β-(1 → 3; 1 → 6) glucan synthesis from Bradyrhizobium japonicum USDA110. This compound, which appears to have considerable hydrophobic affinity, was separated from a perchloric acid cell extract by adsorption to a C-18 silica column. Unlike those cyclic glucans previously isolated from Rhizobium meliloti or Bradyrhizobium japonicum, this molecule contains neither phosphoglycerol nor phosphocholine substituents, respectively. 2D NMR, FAB mass spectrometric analysis and high-performance anion exchange chromatography with pulsed amperometric detection (HPAEC-PAD) confirmed that this glucan is a single, cyclic decasaccharide (cyclolaminarinose) in which one of the residues is substituted in its 6-position with β-laminarabiose. This structural assignment was confirmed by mass spectral and NMR analyses of the product obtained from two consecutive Smith degradations. Unlike the complex 13C spectrum of the unoxidized material, the spectrum of this product consisted of only six resonances due to rapid time averaging of its symmetrical structure on the relatively slow NMR timescale. Synthesis of this newly described cyclic β-glucan in the R. meliloti ndvB mutant restored the symbiotic and hypoosmotic adaptation characteristics of the R. meliloti wild type strain.