A novel method for the study of the fate of cell envelope components during growth and division is described. Successive treatment of the budding yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, with sodium periodate and biotin hydrazide results in the covalent attachment of biotin to an unidentified cell surface component(s), without concomitant interference with subsequent growth and/or division. Further treatment of the cells with ferritin-avidin conjugates (FAv) enables the localization of the position of biotinylated surface components. Electron microscopical analysis of the distribution of attached FAv on cells fixed immediately after biotinylation revealed an even distribution of the biotin sites over the entire surface (including buds and scars) of all cells in the population. Labeling of biotinylated cells following a defined growth period revealed a new cell subpopulation completely devoid of label. The absence of biotin sites on the majority of buds and newly formed scars which appeared on the biotinylated yeasts indicate that the labeled cell wall constituents are stationary and not transferred to the newly synthesized cell wall of the daughter cells. The selective interaction of the biotinylated parent cells with avidin or antibiotin antibodies may enable an affinity-based separation of successive generations from a mixed yeast cell population.