Domestic organic waste (DOW) collected in The Netherlands was analysed and used as substrate for acetone, butanol and ethanol (ABE) production. Two different samples of DOW, referred to as fresh DOW and dried DOW, were treated by extrusion in order to expand the polymer fibres present and to obtain a homogeneous mixture. The extruded material was analysed with respect to solvent and hot water extractives, uronic acids, lignin, sugars and ash. The total sugar content in the polymeric fractions of the materials varied from 27.7% to 39.3% (w/w), in which glucose represented the 18.4 and 25.1% of the materials, for fresh and dried DOW, respectively. The extruded fresh DOW was used as substrate for the ABE fermentation by the solventogenic strain Clostridium acetobutylicum ATCC 824. This strain was grown on a suspension of 10% (w/v) DOW in demineralised water without further nutrient supplement. This strain produced 4 g ABE/100 g extruded DOW. When C. acetobutylicum ATCC 824 was grown on a suspension of 10% (w/v) DOW hydrolysed by a combination of commercial cellulases and beta-glucosidases, the yield of solvents increased to 7.5 g ABE/100 g extruded DOW. The utilisation of sugar polymers in both hydrolysed and non-hydrolysed DOW was determined, showing that only a small proportion of the polymers had been consumed by the bacteria. These results indicate that growth and ABE production on DOW is mainly supported by soluble saccharides in the medium.