Transmissible gastroenteritis coronavirus (TGEV) and Escherichia coli K99 are both enteropathogenic for pigs with infections being most severe in neonate animals. For both microorganisms, a sialic acid binding activity has been shown to be an essential pathogenicity factor. Here we demonstrate with haemagglutination and haemagglutination-inhibition assays that TGEV and E. coli K99 differ in their sialic acid binding activities with respect to the type and amount of sialic acid residues required on the erythrocytes surface as well as with respect to the type of sialoglycoconjugate preferentially recognized. Intestinal mucins from piglets (12–14 days old) and adult animals were shown to inhibit TGEV to the same extent. From our results we conclude that E. coli K99 and TGEV interact with different sialoglycoconjugates to establish an intestinal infection. The implications for the enteropathogenicity of TGEV are discussed.