Theoretical analysis of cellulase product inhibition (by cellobiose and glucose) has been performed in terms of the mathematical model for enzymatic cellulose hydrolysis. The analysis showed that even in those cases when consideration of multienzyme cellulase system as one enzyme (cellulase) or two enzymes (cellulase and β-glucosidase) is valid, double-reciprocal plots, usually used in a product inhibition study, may be nonlinear, and different inhibition patterns (noncompetitive, competitive, or mixed type) may be observed. Inhibition pattern depends on the cellulase binding constant, enzyme concentration, maximum adsorption of the enzyme (cellulose surface area accessible to the enzyme), the range in which substrate concentration is varied, and β-glucosidase activity. A limitation of cellulase adsorption by cellulose surface area that may occur at high enzyme/substrate ratio is the main reason for nonlinearity of double-reciprocal plots. Also, the results of calculations showed that material balance by substrate, which is usually neglected by researchers studying cellulase product inhibition, must be taken into account in kinetic analysis even in those cases when the enzyme concentration is rather low. © 1992 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.