High rate mesophilic anaerobic contact reactors (MACR) represent a proven sustainable technology for a wide range of different industrial effluents. These reactors demonstrate quite similar features to their aerobic counterparts, activated sludge systems. A lab-scale high rate mesophilic anaerobic contact reactor was operated with wastewater originated from a potato-processing plant, at six different loading rates of 1.1-5 g COD/L per day. The operational performance of MACR was monitored from start-up by assessing COD removal efficiency, total volatile fatty acid production and biogas composition. Furthermore, various kinetic models have been successfully applied to the experimental data to determine substrate balance, maximum utilization rate and volumetric methane production. The COD removal efficiencies were found to be 78-92% and the methane percentage of the biogas produced was 80-89%. Additionally, the methane yield coefficient was found to be 0.394 L CH4/gTCOD(rem). (C) 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.