The reproducibility of low-temperature anaerobic biological wastewater treatment trials was evaluated. Two identical anaerobic expanded granular sludge bed bioreactors were used to treat synthetic volatile fatty acid-based industrial wastewater under ambient conditions (18-20 degrees C) and to investigate the effect of various environmental perturbations on reactor performance and microbial community dynamics, which were assessed by chemical oxygen demand removal or effluent volatile fatty acid determination and terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis, respectively. Methanogenic activity was monitored using specific methanogenic activity assays. Reactor performance and microbial community dynamics were each well replicated between Reactor 1 and Reactor 2. Archaeal dynamics, in particular, were associated with reactor operating parameters. Terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism data suggested dynamic acetoclastic and hydrogenophilic methanogenic populations and were in agreement with temporal specific methanogenic activity data. Putative psychrophilic populations were observed in anaerobic bioreactor sludge for the first time.