This study was conducted to investigate the performance of the upflow anaerobic sludge blanket (UASB) reactor treating leachate from acidogenic fermenter in the two-phase anaerobic digestion of food waste. The chemical oxygen demand (COD) removal efficiency was consistently over 96% up to the loading rates of 15.8 g COD/1d. The methane production rate increased to 5.51/1 d. Of all the COD removed, 92% was converted to methane and the remaining presumably to biomass. At loading rates over 18.7 g COD/1d, the COD removal efficiency decreased due to sludge flotation and washout in the reactor, which resulted from short HRT of less than 10.6 h. The residual propionate concentration was the highest among the volatile fatty acids (VFA) in the effluent. The specific methanogenic activity (SMA) analysis showed that the VFA-degrading activity of granule was the highest for butyrate, and the lowest for propionate. Typical granules were found to be mainly composed of microcolonies of Methanosaeta. The size distribution of sludge particles indicated that partially granulated sludge could maintain the original structure of granular sludge and continue to gain size in the UASB reactor treating leachate from acidogenic fermenter. (C) 2001 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.