Bacterial polysaccharides are usually associated with the outer surface of the bacterium. They can form an amorphous layer of extracellular polysaccharide (EPS) surrounding the cell that may be further organized into a distinct structure termed a capsule. Additional polysaccharide molecules such as lipopolysaccharide (LPS) or lipooligosaccharide (LOS) may also decorate the cell surface. Polysaccharide capsules may mediate a number of biological processes, including invasive infections of human beings. Discussed here are the genetics and biochemistry of selected bacterial capsular polysaccharides and the basis of capsule diversity but not the genetics and biochemistry of LPS biosynthesis (for reviews see 100, 140).