Mucin glycoproteins were purified from extracts of swine trachea mucosa and Cowper's gland. The gelatinous extracts were solubilized by reduction and carboxymethylation and then purified by chromatography on Sepharose CL-6B and DEAE-Sepharose. The structure of some of the carbohydrate units in these glycoproteins were determined and compared. Alkaline borohydride treatment indicated that more than 85% of the carbohydrate chains in these glycoproteins were linked to serine or threonine residues in the polypeptide chain through O-glycosidic bonds with N-acetylgalactosamine. Reduced oligosaccharides released by treatment with alkaline borohydride were isolated by gel filtration on Bio-Gel P-6 and chromatography on DEAE-cellulose and paper. The structures of the oligosaccharides were established by methylation analysis, gas chromatography, and sequential hydrolysis with specific exoglycosidases. The major oligosaccharides in Cowper's gland mucin glycoproteins were sialylated short chains: NeuAc alpha 2,6GalNAcol and NeuAc alpha 2,3Gal beta 1,3(NeuAc alpha 2,6)GalNAcol. In marked contrast, branched chains containing a Gal beta 1,3(GlcNAc beta 1,6)GalNAc core unit were the major components of trachea mucin glycoprotein. Ten of these chains had the following structures: (Formula: see text).