A fermentative hydrogen-producing bacterium, Clostridium tyrobutyricum JM1, was isolated from a food waste treating process using 16S rRNA gene sequencing and amplified ribosomal DNA restriction analysis (ARDRA). A fixed-bed bioreactor packed with polyurethane foam as support matrix for the growth of the isolate was operated at different hydraulic retention time (HRT) to evaluate its performance for hydrogen production. The reactor achieved the maximal hydrogen production rate of 7.2 l H(2)l(-1)d(-1) at 2h HRT, where hydrogen content in biogas was 50.0%, and substrate conversion efficiency was 97.4%. The maximum hydrogen yield was 223 ml (g-hexose)(-1) with an influent glucose concentration of 5 g l(-1). Therefore, the immobilized reactor using C. tyrobutyricum JM1 was an effective and stable system for continuous hydrogen production.