Low concentration synthetic and municipal wastewaters were treated at HRT as short as 3 and 0.6 h respectively in an anaerobic inverse fluidized bed. Both bioreactors showed gas hold up due to the liquid downflow pattern of the prototype. The bioreactor operated at 3 h had a removal efficiency of 83%, specific activity of 4.5 kg CODremoved/kg IVS (d and the gas hold up varied from 23 to 55%. The reactor treating municipal wastewater had a removal efficiency of 44% when operating at 0.6 h, the specific activity was 4.2 kg CODremoved/kg IVS (d and no biogas was detected apparently because an important fraction was dissolved in the liquid phase. The biomass concentration was 13.8 and 1.1 kg IVS/m3 for synthetic and municipal wastewater and the SEM microphotographs showed a bacterial diversity for the first run and only cocci cells for the second run. The system does not remove suspended solids, so a polishing postreatment to improve water quality has to be implemented.

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