To produce xylobiose from xylan, high-level expression of an endoxylanase gene from Bacillus sp. was carried out in Bacillus subtilis DB104. A 1.62-kb SmaI DNA fragment, coding for an endoxylanase of Bacillus sp., was ligated into the Escherichia coli/B. subtilis shuttle vector pJH27 Delta 88, producing pJHKJ4, which was subsequently transformed into B. subtilis DB104. A maximum endoxylanase activity of 105 U/ml was obtained from the supernatant of B. subtilis DB104 harboring pJHKJ4. The endoxylanase was purified to homogeneity by ion-exchange chromatography and the production profile of xylooligosaccharides from xylan by the endoxylanase was examined by HPLC with a carbohydrate analysis column. Xylobiose was the major product from xylan at 40 degrees C and its proportion in the xylan hydrolyzates increased with the reaction time; at 12 h, over 60% of the reaction products was xylobiose. These results suggest that xylobiose, which has a stimulatory effect on the selective growth of the intestinal bacterium Bifidobacterium, can be mass-produced effectively by the endoxylanase of Bacillus sp. cloned in B. subtilis.