The epitope composition of O-polysaccharides in the lipopolysaccharide (LPS) of V. cholerae, serogroup O139, isolated from clinical material and water of surface reservoirs was analyzed with the use of monoclonal antibodies. The analysis demonstrated that these O-polysaccharides were similar in their structure and chemical composition. In LPS of V. cholerae O139 clinical strains O-polysaccharide determinants occurred more often. Among V. cholerae isolated from water strains on whose surface individual epitopes of O-polysaccharide occurred less frequently or were absent appeared to be more numerous. A decrease in the concentration of microbial cells in the process of their testing by immunological methods led to increased percent of negative reactions with specific antibodies. Some V. cholerae O139 strains isolated from water were similar in the epitope composition of their O-polysaccharide and binding activity to cultures isolated from humans. As indicated by the results of these studies, cholera vibrios Bengal and vibrios isolated from river water on the territory of Russia had quantitative differences due to a higher level of the production of O-polysaccharide determinants and their occurrence in V. cholerae of serogroup O139.