The aim of this study was to evaluate the immunomodulatory effects of sugar cane extract (SCE) on the biological activities of neutrophils in mice. Six-week-old BALB/c mice were fed 1250 mg/kg of SCE once. The generation, migration and biological functions of neutrophils and the survival rates of the mice in response to Salmonella typhimurium infection were evaluated. The results show that the numbers of both bone marrow cells and neutrophils were significantly increased in response to SCE administration (p < 0.05) compared with controls. The migration, phagocytosis and H2O2 generation of neutrophils were all significantly enhanced in SCE-treated mice (p < 0.05). After challenge with S. typhimurium (lethal dose, 50% (LD50)), SCE-treated mice had a 19.2% higher survival rate and milder hepatic lesions than the controls. Additionally, fewer invasive bacteria were recovered from the spleens of SCE-treated mice. In conclusion, our results suggest that SCE has a positive regulatory effect on the biological function of mouse neutrophils that may increase host resistance against bacterial infections. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.