The possibility of using xylan, as an agricultural by-product, for production of composite films in combinations with wheat gluten was investigated. Different levels of xylan (0-40% w/w) were incorporated into wheat gluten to form biodegradable composite films. Films were prepared at pH 4 and 11, and dried at either uncontrolled or controlled conditions. The mechanical properties, solubilities and water vapour transfer rate (WVTR) of the composite films were studied. Films were obtained with added xylan without decreasing film-forming quality. Xylan can be used as an additive, as much as 40% (w/w), in wheat gluten films. Changing pH, wheat gluten/xylan ratio, xylan type and drying conditions affected mechanical and solubility properties, however, WVTR was not affected by xylan additions. Wheat gluten/xylan composite films having different characteristics can be produced depending on xylan type, composition and process conditions. (C) 2002 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.