The interaction between human fibronectin and 17 strains of staphylococci was studied in an attempt to elucidate the staphylococcal cell wall component(s) involved in fibronectin binding and to determine the influence of fibronectin upon phagocytosis by three types of phagocytic cells. Purified, radiolabeled fibronectin bound to a similar degree to six laboratory strains and three fresh clinical isolates of Staphylococcus aureus; similar binding of fibronectin was found with S. aureus strains deficient in cell wall teichoic acid or clumping factor and coagulase, as well as with three strains of S. epidermidis. There was minimal binding of fibronectin to encapsulated S. aureus and to Escherichia coli. Fibronectin bound to intact cells and to a crude cell wall preparation of S. aureus H, but not to purified cell walls or peptidoglycan. Trypsinization of staphylococci prevented subsequent fibronectin binding, but binding did not correlate well with the protein A content in S. aureus cell walls. At physiological concentrations, fibronectin binding to staphylococci did not promote phagocytosis of bacteria by human polymorphonuclear leukocytes, monocytes, or alveolar macrophages. Also, depletion of fibronectin from normal human serum did not result in a measurable loss of opsonic activity for staphylococci. It is concluded that fibronectin binding to staphylococci involves a surface protein shared among strains of S. aureus and S. epidermidis, and that in comparison to C3b and IgG, fibronectin plays a relatively minor role as a opsonin for staphylococci.