Sphingolipids are present in animals, plants, fungi, yeasts and some bacteria. In mammalian cells sphingolipids act as lipid mediators for cell growth, differentiation, apoptosis and angio-genesis. In contrast, in bacteria the biological significance of sphingolipids has not been fully elucidated and sphingolipid metabolism has not been investigated. The aim of this study was to compare the pattern of sphingolipid metabolites in HIT-T15 β cells originating from hamster pancreas to that in the bacterial strain Sphingomonas chungbukensis DJ77, under various culture conditions. It was found that the concentration of cellular sphinganine (Sa) in S. chungbukensis was higher than that of sphingosine (So), while the level of cellular So in HIT-T15 cells was higher than that of Sa. Aeration and shaking during culture increased bacterial growth in S. chungbukensis, and the contents of So and Sa were also elevated. These results indicate that a de novo sphingolipid pathway appeared to be active in bacteria and that bacterial growth may be closely related to Sa levels.