[en] Epizootic rabbit enteropathy (ERE) is a major cause of economic loss in intensive rabbit production. Since its first recognition in 1997, much work has been done to determine the pathogenic mechanisms of the disease and to identify the aetiological agent(s). Unfortunately, the quest for aetiology has only met with limited success despite the ability to reproduce the syndrome by inoculation of intestinal contents from field cases. These intestinal inocula contain a huge number of microorganisms which could all be involved in the aetiology of ERE. To decrease the number of putative agents, the French reference inoculum TEC3 was fractionated on a discontinuous sucrose gradient so that seven fractions (supernatant, 10%, 20%, 30%, 40%, 50% and pellet) were obtained. Specific-pathogen-free rabbits were inoculated with three out of these seven fractions (supernatant, 30%, and pellet). The objectives were: (1) to characterise the seven fractions by bacteriological examination; (2) to verify whether the aetiological agent was present in the fractions by inoculation of rabbits; (3) to assign the aetiological agent of ERE to a morphological group of pathogens; (4) to identify a fraction which could replace the reference inoculum TEC3 in applications such as cell cultures or egg inoculation. The results strongly suggest that ERE is a bacterial disease and does not have a viral or parasitic aetiology. (C) 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.