Bacteria modulate glycoside hydrolase expression in response to the changes in the composition of lignocellulosic biomass. The response of switchgrass-adapted thermophilic bacterial consortia to perturbation with a variety of biomass substrates was characterized to determine if bacterial consortia also responded to changes in biomass composition. Incubation of the switchgrass-adapted consortia with these alternative substrates produced shifts in glycoside hydrolase activities and bacterial community composition. Substantially increased endoglucanase activity was observed upon incubation with microcrystalline cellulose and trifluororacetic acid-pretreated switchgrass. In contrast, culturing the microbial consortia with ionic liquid-pretreated switchgrass increased xylanase activity dramatically. Microbial community analyses of these cultures indicated that the increased endoglucanase activity correlated with an increase in bacteria related to Rhodothermus marinus. Inclusion of simple organic substrates in the culture medium abrogated glycoside hydrolase activity and enriched for bacteria related to Thermus thermophilus. These results demonstrate that the composition of biomass substrates influences the glycoside hydrolase activities and community composition of biomass-deconstructing bacterial consortia.