The bioconversion of cellulose and hemicellulose substrates to 2,3-butanediol by a sequential coculture approach was investigated with the cellulolytic fungus Trichoderma harzianum E58 and the fermentative bacterium Klebsiella pneumoniae. Vogel medium optimal for the production of the cellulolytic and xylanolytic enzymes of the fungus was found to be inhibitory to butanediol fermentation. This inhibition appeared to be due to a synergistic effect of various ingredients, particularly the salts, present in the fungal medium. The removal or replacement of such ingredients from Vogel medium led to the relief of fermentation inhibition, but the treatments also resulted in a significant decrease in fungal enzyme production. Resting cells of K. pneumoniae could be used for butanediol production in the fungal medium, indicating that the inhibitory effect on solvent production under such conditions was due to the indirect result of growth inhibition of the bacterial cells. The resting-cell approach could be combined with a fed-batch system for the direct conversion of 8 to 10% (wt/vol) of Solka-Floc or aspenwood xylan to butanediol at over 30% of the theoretical conversion efficiencies.