The clostridia are a diverse group of obligately anaerobic bacteria with potential for the fermentative production of fuels, solvents and other chemicals. Several species exhibit a broad substrate range, but there have been few studies of the mechanisms involved in regulation of uptake and metabolism of fermentable carbohydrates. Clostridium beijerinckii (formerly Clostridium acetobutylicum) NCIMB 8052 exhibited transport activity for hexoses and hexitols. Glucose-grown cells transported glucose and fructose, but not galactose, glucitol (sorbitol) or mannitol, transport of which was induced by growth on the respective substrates. Phosphorylation of glucose, fructose, glucitol and mannitol by cell extracts was supported by phosphoenolpyruvate, indicating the involvement of a phosphotransferase system in uptake of these substrates. Fructose phosphorylation was also demonstrated by isolated membranes in the presence of fructose 1-phosphate, thus identifying this derivative as the product of the fructose phosphotransferase system. The presence of phosphotransferase activities in extracts prepared from cells grown on different carbon sources correlated with transport activities in whole cells, and the pattern of transport activities reflected the substrate preference of cells growing in the presence of glucose and another carbon source. Thus, glucose and fructose were co-metabolised, while utilization of glucitol was prevented by glucose, even in cells which were previously induced for glucitol metabolism. Of the substrates examined, only galactose appeared to be transported by a non-phosphotransferase mechanism, since a significant rate of phosphorylation of this sugar was supported by ATP rather than phosphoenolpyruvate.