AbstractBased on the steam explosion pretreatment that has been applied to other types of lignocellulosic biomass, the steam explosion pretreatment of bamboo, along with a study of the chemical compositions and enzymatic hydrolyzability of substrates, was conducted. The results show that steam explosion pretreatment can greatly enhance the cellulose-to-glucose conversion yield after enzymatic hydrolysis, which is sometimes affected by bamboo age and steam explosion conditions. When the steam explosion pretreatment conditions were 2.0 MPa (pressure) and 4 min (time), the cellulose-to-glucose conversion yield of 2-year-old bamboo substrate was 62.5%. However, the cellulose-to-glucose conversion yield of bamboo substrates after direct (without steam explosion pretreatment) sodium chlorite/acetic acid delignification was 93.1%. Fermentation of enzymatic hydrolyzates with Saccharomyces cerevisiae resulted in about 88.1% to 96.2% of the corresponding theoretical ethanol yield after 24 h.