Comparison of the amino acid sequences of four families of glycosyl hydrolases reveals that they are homologous and have several common conserved regions. Two of these families contain beta-fructosidases (glycosyl hydrolase families GH32 and GH68) and the other two include alpha-L-arabinases and beta-xylosidases (families GH43 and GH62). The latter two families are proposed to be grouped together with the former two into the beta-fructosidase (furanosidase) superfamily. Several ORFs can be considered as a fifth family of the superfamily on the basis of sequence similarity. It is shown for the first time that a glycosyl hydrolase superfamily can include enzymes with both inversion and retention mechanism of action. Composition of the active center for enzymes of the superfamily is discussed.