Mutants of Rhizobium meliloti which are deficient in exopolysaccharide synthesis have been classified into six different genetic groups (A through F) (J. A. Leigh, E. R. Signer, and G. C. Walker, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 82:6231-6235, 1985). Using physical and genetic techniques, we have demonstrated that the group E Exo- mutants carry deletions in the exoA-exoB region of the megaplasmid pRmeSU47b. We have constructed strains carrying defined deletions which remove up to 200 kilobases of pRmeSU47b, including the exoA-exoB region. These derivatives have the same phenotypes as do the group E mutants.