In this study 86 isolates of Vibrio cholerae were analysed for their adhesive properties and the presence of pathogenicity island genes. With the exception of three isolates, all of the other clinical isolates (92.5 %) contained an intact TCP (toxin-co-regulated pilus) gene cluster. In contrast, 95 % of all environmental non-O1-non-O139 isolates were negative for the TCP gene cluster. The majority of clinical isolates (82.5 %) possessed the complete vibrio pathogenicity island (VPI) gene cluster and had a similar RFLP pattern, while only a single environmental strain possessed an almost complete VPI cluster (lacking 0.4 kb in the tcpA and toxT region). The result showed that the isolates with tcpA+/toxT+ had a strong attachment for HT-29 and Vero cells, whereas isolates with tcpA+/toxT− or tcpA−/toxT− genomic characteristics showed no autoagglutination and weak attachment for the cell lines. Two environmental strains (tcpA−/toxT−) showed strong adhesive properties to the cell lines, indicating that non-fimbrial adhesive factors are involved in the environmental V. cholerae strains in the absence of TCP.