A plant fibrous-bed bioreactor (PFB) was constructed for propionic acid production. Sugar cane bagasse was applied to the PFB as immobilizing material. Starting at a concentration of 80g/L of glucose, Propionibacterium freudenreichii CCTCC M207015 produced 41.20±2.03g/L of propionic acid at 108h in the PFB. The value was 21.07% higher than that produced by free cell fermentation. Intermittent and constant fed-batch fermentations were performed in the PFB to optimize the fermentation results. The highest propionic acid concentration obtained from constant fed-batch fermentation was 136.23±6.77g/L, which is 1.40 times higher than the highest concentration (97.00g/L) previously reported. Scanning electron microscopy analysis showed that cells exhibited striking changes in morphology after PFB domestication. Compared with free cell fermentation, the fluxes of propionic acid synthesis and the pentose phosphate pathway in PFB fermentation increased by 84.65% and 227.62%, respectively. On the other hand, a decrease in succinic and acetic acid fluxes was also observed. The metabolic flux distributions of the two PFB fed-batch fermentation strategies also demonstrated that constant fed-batch fermentation is a more beneficial method for the immobilized production of propionic acid. The relevant key enzyme activities and metabolic flux variations of the batch cultures showed good consistency. These results suggest that the PFB was effective in high-concentration propionic acid production. Crown Copyright © 2012. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.