Many modern large-scale biogas plants have been constructed recently, increasing the demand for proper monitoring and control of these large reactor systems. For monitoring the biogas process, an easy to measure and reliable indicator is required, which reflects the metabolic state and the activity of the bacterial populations in the reactor. In this paper, we discuss existing indicators as well as indicators under development which can potentially be used to monitor the state of the biogas process in a reactor. Furthermore, data are presented from two large scale thermophilic biogas plants, subjected to temperature changes and where the concentration of volatile fatty acids was monitored. The results clearly demonstrated that significant changes in the concentration of the individual VFA occurred although the biogas production was not significantly changed. Especially the concentrations of butyrate, isobutyrate and isovalerate showed significant changes. Future improvements of process control could therefore be based on monitoring of the concentration of specific VFA`s together with information about the bacterial populations in the reactor. The last information could be supplied by the use of modern molecular techniques. (au) 51 refs.