Enterotoxigenic (ETEC) Escherichia coli (E. coli) causes traveller's diarrhoea and high mortality among baby animals. ETEC adhesion is mediated by lectins (adhesins) that bind to glycoconjugates on the surface of host cells. Glycans that compete for adhesion could be used for disease prevention. Neoglycans of porcine albumin (PSA) that were conjugated with prebiotic galactooligosaccharides (GOS) were synthesised using the Maillard reaction. PSA glycation was confirmed by a reduction in the number of available free amino groups, decreased tryptophan intrinsic fluorescence, increased molecular mass and Ricinus communis lectin recognition. The adhesion of four ETEC strains (E. coli H10407, CFA+, K99 and K88) to PSA-GOS was examined by an enzyme-linked lectin assay. E. coli K88 bound to PSA-GOS with greater affinity (P < 0.05) than did E. coli H10407, CFA+and K99. In addition, PSA-GOS partially inhibited the adherence of the K88 strain to intestinal mucins. Pig ETEC strain was unable to ferment galactooligosaccharide-neoglycans. These results suggest that neoglycans obtained by the Maillard reaction may serve in the prophylaxis of ETEC K88 diarrhoea. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.