This study aimed at evaluating the performance of five laboratory-scale reactors, three UASB and two downflow anaerobic expanded bed (DAEB), fed with saccharose and long chain fatty acids (LCFA) for 410 days. Reactors operated at a temperature of 35 °C. The organic load rates were changed between 3.45 and 6.38 kg COD.m3.d−1.During period I the substrate was saccharose and in periods II, III and IV it was saccharose plus sodium oleate, stereate and a mixture of sodium oleate and stereate. The UASB and DAEB reactors showed a similar performance. In UASB reactors specific methanogenic activity decreased in the periods II, III and IV. COD removal, biogas production and CH4 concentration in biogas decreased in all reactors at the end of the study. A washout occurred in UASB 2 and 3 when sodium stereate exceeded 500 mg.L−1. In DAEB reactors the main problem was adsorption of LCFA particles onto the solid support.

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