Anaerobic pretreated paper process water was characterized in terms of readily biodegradable, slowly biodegradable, very slowly biodegradable and inert wastewater fractions under mesophilic and thermophilic conditions. The anaerobic pretreated paper process water contained a relatively high amount of slowly biodegradable components and few easily biodegradable components as indicated by the ratio of short term BOD over the BOD5. Wastewater readily biodegradable COD, determined as short term BOD, was almost similar when measured under both temperature conditions. Fractions of slowly biodegradable COD and inert COD of the same wastewater were found to depend on the type of biomass involved in the test. Thermophilic aerobic biomass was not able to degrade the wastewater to the same extent as the mesophilic biomass resulting in higher apparent inert COD levels. Furthermore, wastewater colloidal COD did not flocculate under thermophilic conditions and was thus not removed from the liquid phase.