The substrate specificity and kinetic properties of a pure sialyltransferase from bovine colostrum have been examined. The transferase appears to incorporate sialic acid into the sequence, NeuAcalpha2 leads to 6Galbeta1 leads to 4GlcNAc, which is commonly found in glycoproteins. It has a strict substrate specificity for CMP-NeuAc and forms only the alpha2 leads to 6 sialyl linkage with beta-D-galactosides. N-Acetyllactosamine (Galbeta1 leads to 4GlcNAc) and asialo-glycoproteins containing the N-acetyllactosaminyl linkage at the nonreducing ends of the oligosaccharides prosthetic groups are the best acceptor substrates. Isomers of N-acetyllactosamine with beta1 leads to 3 or beta1 leads to 6 glycosidic linkages are less than 1% as effective as acceptor substates as the beta1 leads to 4-linked isomer. Lactose (Galbeta1 leads to 4Glc) is also a poor acceptor, indicating the importance of the 2-acetamido group in the N-acetylglucosaminyl residues. The unnatural substrate beta-methyl-L-arabinopyrano-side, a five-carbon analog of beta-methyl-D-galactoside which contains no 6-hydroxyl, also acts as a poor acceptor of the transferase and the sialylated product has been partially characterized. Kinetic properties of the enzyme in the presence and absence of inhibitors suggest that the transferase has an equilibrium random order mechanism.