The behavior of a packed‐bed reactor for enzymatic hydrolysis of pretreated wheat straw has been described by means of a mathematical model. The flow pattern has been evaluated by residence time distribution experiments. Small deviations from ideal plug flow behavior were found using the dispersion model. The kinetic model proposed for enzymatic hydrolysis of cellulosic fraction of pretreated wheat straw has been derived from batch experimental data. Variations of enzyme concentration throughout the straw bed have been approximately described using a ramp variation of adsorbed enzyme. The final explains qualitatively the experimental results. Copyright © 1989 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.