A survey was made of the anaerobic and facultatively anaerobic bacteria present in piggery waste, digesting piggery waste and domestic anaerobic sludge used to start a piggery waste digester. An influence of the input waste was shown in that streptococci, the predominant facultatively anaerobic bacteria in the piggery waste, were the predominant bacteria in the digesting waste, and they replaced Entrobacter, predominant in the domestic sludge, when a piggery waste digestion had been established from this latter material. Cellulolytic or methanogenic bacteria could not be detected in the piggery waste but populations of these, and other hydrolytic bacteria, became established at different times during the build-up of digestion by gradual addition of piggery waste to water. The bacteria concerned in degradation of the waste constituents were all anaerobes. Production of methane from H/sub 2//CO/sub 2/, formate and butyrate could be detected in mixed cultures from dilutions of digester contents, but the only methanogenic bacterium that could be isolated in pure culture was Methanobacterium formicicum, which uses H/sub 2//CO/sub 2/ or formate only.