The use of carbohydrate microarrays to investigate the carbohydrate binding specificities of bacteria, to detect pathogens, and to screen antiadhesion therapeutics is reported. This system is ideal for whole-cell applications because microarrays present carbohydrate ligands in a manner that mimics interactions at cell-cell interfaces. Other advantages include assay miniaturization, since minimal amounts (approximately picomoles) of a ligand are required to observe binding, and high throughput, since thousands of compounds can be placed on an array and analyzed in parallel. Pathogen detection experiments can be completed in complex mixtures of cells or protein using the known carbohydrate binding epitopes of the pathogens in question. The nondestructive nature of the arrays allows the pathogen to be harvested and tested for antibacterial susceptibility. These investigations allow microarray-based screening of biological samples for contaminants and combinatorial libraries for antiadhesion therapeutics.