As it is currently often not know how anaerobic bioreactors, e. g. for biogas production, react if the substrate is contaminated by toxic compounds like antibiotics. This study evaluated how anaerobic sequencing batch reactors were affected by amendments of different antibiotics and stepwise increasing concentrations. The compositions of microbial community were determined in the seed sludge using 16S rRNA gene clone libraries and PCR-DGGE analyses were used for the detection of microbial community changes upon antibiotics additions. According to PCR-DGGE results, the syntrophic interaction of acetogens and methanogens is critical to the performance of the reactors. Failure to maintain the stability of these microorganisms resulted in a decrease in the performance and stability of the anaerobic reactors. Assessment of DGGE data is also useful for suggesting the potential to control ultimate microbial community structure, especially derived from Gram-negative bacteria, through bioaugmentation to successful for antibiotic biodegradation. (C) 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.