Two anaerobic fixed-structured bed reactors were fed with synthetic wastewater simulating the soluble fraction of sugarcane vinasse to evaluate the interference of sulfidogenesis on methanogenesis. The reactors running in parallel were subjected to the same operating conditions. The influent organic matter concentration (in term of chemical oxygen demand (COD)) remained close to 4,000 mgCOD L−1 and the hydraulic retention time was 24 hours. One reactor, the methanogenic (control reactor), received sulfate only to provide the sulfur required as a nutrient to the methanogenic biomass. The other one, the sulfidogenic/methanogenic reactor (SMR), received sulfate concentration corresponding to COD/sulfate ratios of 4, 5 and 3. In the last phase, the COD removal efficiencies were higher than 96% in both reactors and the SMR achieved 97% of sulfate removal efficiency (COD/sulfate ratio of 3 and influent sulfate concentration close to 1,300 mgSO42− L−1). Both reactors also had similar methane yields in this phase, close to 350 mLCH4 gCODremoved−1 at standard temperature and pressure. These results indicated no significant inhibition of methanogenic activity under the sulfidogenic conditions assessed.

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