Glycosidase inhibitors have shown great medicinal and pharmaceutical values as exemplified by the therapeutic treatment of influenza virus and non-insulin-dependent diabetes. We herein report the discovery of picomolar slow tight-binding inhibitors 2-5 against the alpha-fucosidase from Corynebacterium sp. by a rapid screening for an optimal aglycon attached to 1-aminomethyl fuconojirimycin (1). The time-dependent inhibition displays the progressive tightening of enzyme-inhibitor complex from a low nanomolar K(i) to picomolar K(i)* value. Particularly compound 2 with a K(i)* of 0.46 pM represents the most potent glycosidase inhibitor to date. The effect of compound 3 on the intrinsic fluorescence of alpha-fucosidase is both time- and concentration-dependent in a saturation-type manner, which is consistent with the initial formation of a rapid equilibrium complex of enzyme and inhibitor (E.I), followed by the slower formation of a tightly bound enzyme-inhibitor complex (E.I*). The binding affinity increases 3.5 x 10(4)-fold from 1 (K(i) = 16.3 nM) to 2 (K(i)* = 0.46 pM). This work clearly demonstrates the effectiveness of our combinatorial approach leading to the rapid discovery of potent inhibitors.