A kinetic model for xylose catabolism in Aspergillus is proposed. From a thermodynamic analysis it was found that the intermediate xylitol will accumulate during xylose catabolism. Use of the kinetic model allowed metabolic control analysis (MCA) of the xylose catabolic pathway to be carried out, and flux control was shown to be dependent on the metabolite levels. Due to thermodynamic constraints, flux control may reside at the first step in the pathway, i.e., at the xylose reductase, even when the intracellular xylitol concentration is high. On the basis of the kinetic analysis, the general dogma specifying that flux control often resides at the step following an intermediate present at high concentrations was, therefore, shown not to hold. The intracellular xylitol concentration was measured in batch cultivations of two different strains of Aspergillus niger and two different strains of Aspergillus nidulans grown on media containing xylose, and a concentration up to 30 mM was found. Applying MCA showed that the first polyol dehydrogenase (XDH) in the catabolic pathway of xylose exerted the main flux control in the two strains of A. nidulans and A. niger NW324, but the flux control was exerted mainly at the first enzyme of the pathway (XR) of A. niger NW 296.