[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In this study, efforts were taken to compare solubilization of Avicel and AFEX pretreated corn stover (AFEX CS) by SSF and Clostridium thermocellum fermentation, with an aim to gain insights into microbial conversion of pretreated cellulosic biomass. Solubilization rates for AFEX CS are comparable for the two systems while solubilization of Avicel is much faster by C. thermocellum. Initial catalyst loading impacts final cellulose conversion for SSF but not for C. thermocellum. Hydrolysis of the two substrates using cell-free C. thermocellum fermentation broth revealed much smaller difference in cellulose conversion than the difference observed for growing cultures. Tests on hemicellulose removal and particle size reduction for AFEX CS indicated that substrate accessibility is very important for enhanced solubilization by C. thermocellum.