A thin membrane of bacterial cellulose (BC) obtained from Acetobacter culture was tested for its performance as a dialysis membrane in aqueous systems. The BC membrane showed superior mechanical strength to that of a dialysis-grade regenerated cellulose membrane, allowing the use of a thinner membrane than the latter. As a result, the BC membrane gave higher permeation rates for poly(ethylene glycols) as probe solutes. The cutoff molecular weight of the original BC membrane, significantly greater than that of regenerated cellulose, could be modified by concentrated alkali treatments of the membrane. The nature of the change at the ultrastructural level caused by the alkali treatments was studied by X-ray diffraction and scanning electron microscopy. © 1993 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.