A thermotolerant yeast strain named Kluyveromyces marxianus IMB4 was used in a simultaneous saccharification and fermentation (SSF) process using Kanlow switchgrass as a feedstock. Switchgrass was pretreated using hydrothermolysis at 200 degrees C for 10 min. After pretreatment, insoluble solids were separated from the liquid prehydrolyzate by filtration and washed with deionized water to remove soluble sugars and inhibitors. Insoluble solids were then hydrolyzed using a commercial cellulase preparation and the released glucose was fermented to ethanol by K. marxianus IMB4 in an SSF process. SSF temperature was 37, 41, or 45 degrees C and PH was 4.8 or 5.5. SSF was conducted for 7 days. Results were compared with a control of Saccharomyces cerevisiae D(5)A at 37 degrees C and PH 4.8. Fermentation by IMB4 at 45 and 41 degrees C ceased after 3 and 4 days, respectively, when a PH 4.8 citrate buffer was used. Fermentation continued for all 7 days using IMB4 at 37 degrees C and the control. When pH 5.5 citrate buffer was used, fermentation ceased after 96 h using IMB4 at 45 degrees C, and ethanol yield was greater than when PH 4.8 citrate buffer was used (78% theoretical). Ethanol yield using IMB4 at 45 degrees C, PH 5.5 was greater than the control after 48, 72, and 96 h (P < 0.05).