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The initial decomposition rates of cellulose and hemicellulose were measured using toluene to specifically inhibit the microbial uptake of hydrolysis products during the degradation of newspaper under sulfate reducing and methane producing conditions. The amount of glucose and xylose accumulation in the first 2 weeks of incubation period was higher in the sulfate reducing condition compared to the methane producing condition. It was estimated that 28 and 6% of initially loaded cellulose in the sulfate reducing condition and the methane producing condition was hydrolyzed, respectively. Accordingly, the newspaper-cellulose hydrolysis rate constant was estimated to be 6.7 times higher in sulfate reducing condition than in methane producing condition. Based on the glucose accumulation patterns, when sulfate reducing bacteria (SRB) were inhibited by anthraquinone and molybdate (Na2MoO4), it may be suggested that SRB might have contributed to the hydrolysis of cellulose, while their effect on the hydrolysis of hemicellulose could not be elucidated.