Both the forward and backward reactions of xylose isomerase (Sweetzyme Q) with xylose and glucose as substrates have been studied in terms of kinetics and thermodynamics. The relationship between the two reactions can thus be determined. Much attention has been given to the reaction with xylose as substrate. The optimal conditions of the xylose reaction in terms of pH, buffer, metal ions, substrate concentration, temperature, and ionic strength have been determined. These findings did not differ much from those reported for the glucose reaction. Equilibrium constants for the aldose to ketose conversion were more favorable in the case of glucose. The results obtained with continuous isomerization of xylose in columns packed with either Sweetzyme Q or Taka-Sweet were very similar to those obtained from batch isomerization processes. Particle size had a definite effect on reaction rate, which indicates that diffusion limitations do occur with the immobilized enzyme particles. Heat stability of Sweetzyme Q was good with t(1/2) of 118, 248, and 1200 h at 70, 55, and 40 degrees C, respectively. A novel method for the separation of xylose-xylulose mixtures with water as eluant on a specially prepared Dowex 1 x 8 column was developed. This technique has the capability of producing pure xylulose for industrial or research applications. A writ for a patent regarding this technique is at present prepared.