Escherichia coli lacking the glucose phosphotransferase system (PTS), mannose PTS and glucokinase are supposedly unable to grow on glucose as the sole carbon source (Curtis SJ, Epstein W. J Bacteriol 1975;122:1189-1199). We report that W ptsG manZ glk (ALS1406) grows slowly on glucose in media containing glucose with a second carbon source: ALS1406 metabolizes glucose after that other carbon source, including arabinose, fructose, glycerol, succinate or xylose, is exhausted. Galactose is an exception to this rule, as ALS1406 simultaneously consumes both galactose and glucose. The ability of ALS1406 to metabolize glucose in a xylose-glucose mixture was unchanged by an additional knockout in any single gene involved in carbohydrate transport and utilization, including agp (periplasmic glucose-1-phosphatase), galP (galactose permease), xylA (xylose isomerase), alsK (allose kinase), crr (glucose PTS enzyme IIA), galK (galactose kinase), mak (mannokinase), malE (maltose transporter), malX (maltose PTS enzyme IIBC), mglB (methyl-galactose transporter subunit), nagE (N-acetyl glucosamine PTS enzyme IICBA), nanK (N-acetyl mannosamine kinase) or pgm (phosphoglucose mutase). Glucose metabolism was only blocked by the deletion of two metabolic genes, pgi (phosphoglucose isomerase) and zwf (glucose-6-phosphate 1-dehydrogenase), which prevents the entry of glucose-6-phosphate into the pentose phosphate and Embden-Meyerhof-Parnas pathways. Carbon-limited steady-state studies demonstrated that xylose must be sub-saturating for glucose to be metabolized, while nitrogen-limited studies showed that xylose is partly converted to glucose when xylose is in excess. Under transient conditions, ALS1406 converts almost 25 % (mass) xylose into glucose as a result of reversible transketolase and transaldolase and the re-entry of carbon into the pentose phosphate pathway via glucose-6-phosphate 1-dehydrogenase.