We employed an inhibition-type enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) to characterize a murine immunoglobulin M monoclonal antibody (MAb) that bound soluble macromolecular peptidoglycan (PG). With this ELISA, the MAb was capable of detecting soluble PG concentrations of less than 10 ng/ml. Enzymatic digestion of PG reduced binding by more than 100-fold, implying that the epitope recognized by this antibody depended on repeating subunits within the glycan backbone. Additionally, the MAb bound to epitopes on both O-acetylated and non-O-acetylated PG fragments from gram-negative bacteria, as well as PG fragments from Staphylococcus aureus and PG fragments released into the medium by a number of gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria.