Cyclodiene pesticides: aldrin, isodrin, dieldrin and endrin were dechlorinated by methanogenic granular sludge in spiked batch tests. Initial pesticides concentration was 7 or 9 mg1(-1). Two monodechlorinated analogues were formed during the conversions of aldrin and isodrin. Dieldrin was transformed into two monodechlorinated products as well as into aldrin and two monodechlorinated derivatives of aldrin. In respect of endrin three monodechlorinated and three didechlorinated products were found. The dechlorination of endrin was the most rapid, and was almost complete within 28 days. The dechlorinations of aldrin, isodrin and dieldrin were much slower: over a period of 3 months only 59%, 70% and 88% was transformed, respectively. The amounts of released chloride corresponded 0.54 +/- 0.23, 1.05 +/- 0.25, 1.10 +/- 0.12 of theoretical value for suggested reactions, for aldrin, isodrin and dieldrin respectively. For endrin it was much higher. These transformations did not occur in control samples containing autoclaved granules or in control blank samples without sludge. However, in aldrin spiked blanks, a conversion into a six-chlorinated analogue was found. (C) 2003 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.