Ferulic acid, a model lignin derivative, was observed to be biodegradable to methane and carbon dioxide under strict anaerobic conditions. This conversion appears to be carried out by a consortium of bacteria similar to that previously described for the methanogenic degradation of benzoic acid. A temporary buildup of acetate in these cultures indicates that it is a likely intermediate and precursor for methane formation. An analog of coenzyme M, 2-bromoethanesulfonic acid (BESA), inhibited gas production and enhanced the buildup of propionate, butyrate, isobutyrate, and isovalerate. Phenylacetate, cinnamate, 3-phenylpropionate, benzoate, cyclohexane carboxylate, adipate, and pimelate were also detected in BESA-inhibited cultures. A pathway is proposed which includes these various acids as possible intermediates in the methanogenic degradation of ferulic acid. This model overlaps previously described benzoic acid degradation pathways, suggesting that this type of anaerobic degradation may be common for aromatic compounds.