A recursive estimation scheme, the Extended Kalman Filter (EKF) technique, was applied to study enzymatic deactivation in the enzymatic hydrolysis of pretreated cellulose using a model previously developed by the authors. When no deactivation model was assumed, the results showed no variation with time for all the model parameters except for the maximum rate of cellobiose‐to‐glucose conversion (r′m).The r′m variation occurred in two zones with a grace period. A new model of enzymatic hydrolysis of pretreated cellulose deactivation was proposed and validated showing better behavior than the old deactivation model. This approach allows one to study enzyme deactivation without additional experiments and within operational conditions. Copyright © 1987 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.