The degree of retention of whole cells of Synechocystis strain PCC 6803 on DEAE-cellulose columns was shown to depend on their content of exopolysaccharides, which are at least in part responsible for the external negative charge of the cells. This feature was used for the isolation of mutants modified in the apparent viscosity caused by these macromolecular constituents. When a wild-type suspension was loaded onto a DE52 column, the cells eluting in the two extreme fractions of a 0 to 5 M NaCl step gradient represented 10−9 to 10−7 of the total eluted population. The accuracy of the procedure was established through the analysis of four clones: Suc(0)32 and Suc(0)65 (0 M) and Suc(5)64A and Suc(5)61 (5 M). The decreased viscosity of the exopolymers of the two 0 M clones, which appeared identical, could be related to the production of molecules less charged in uronic acids and more readily liberated from the cells. The two 5 M clones exhibited a lower sedimentation velocity, correlating with either a 60% increase in uronic acid and a doubling of the specific viscosity of the exopolysaccharides [clone Suc(5)64A] or a doubling of the per-cell production of polymers otherwise identical to those from wild-type cells [clone Suc(5)61].