Ethanol yields produced by Zymomonas strains from sucrose are significantly lower than from glucose or fructose. The low yield is a consequence of the formation of both levan and sorbitol as by-products. Most of the levan is in a non-precipitable form, indicating low molecular weight. Formation of sorbitol was observed with both the Zymomonas strains studied. The measured amounts of levan and sorbitol were 8% and 11% of the original sucrose content, respectively.