Escherichia coli cells were very rapidly frozen and substituted at a low temperature with 3% glutaraldehyde in acetone. Infiltration and embedding with Lowicryl K4M were carried out at -35°C. This procedure resulted in good structural preservation of both the nucleoid morphology and its DNA plasm, such that immunolabeling with the protein-A gold technique could be carried out. With antibodies specific for either double-stranded DNA (dsDNA) or single-stranded DNA (ssDNA), it was shown that dsDNA was present throughout the nucleoid but that ssDNA was located on the nucleoid periphery. Chloramphenicol-treated cells, in which protein synthesis but not DNA replication is stopped, produced a characteristic ringlike nucleoid shape and had both dsDNA and ssDNA present throughout the annular section of the DNA plasm. The relationship between metabolically active DNA and overall bacterial genome organization is discussed.