The chemical oxygen demand (COD) removal, electricity generation, and microbial communities were compared in 3 types of microbial fuel cells (MFCs) treating molasses wastewater. Single-chamber MFCs without and with a proton exchange membrane (PEM), and double-chamber MFC were constructed. A total of 10,000 mg L(-1) COD of molasses wastewater was continuously fed. The COD removal, electricity generation, and microbial communities in the two types of single-chamber MFCs were similar, indicating that the PEM did not enhance the reactor performance. The COD removal in the single-chamber MFCs (89-90%) was higher than that in the double-chamber MFC (50%). However, electricity generation in the double-chamber MFC was higher than that in the single-chamber MFCs. The current density (80 mA m(-2)) and power density (17 mW m(-2)) in the double-chamber MFC were 1.4- and 2.2-times higher than those in the single-chamber MFCs, respectively. The bacterial community structures in single- and double-chamber MFCs were also distinguishable. The amount of Proteobacteria in the double-chamber MFC was 2-3 times higher than those in the single-chamber MFCs. For the archaeal community, Methanothrix (96.4%) was remarkably dominant in the single-chamber MFCs, but Methanobacterium (35.1%), Methanosarcina (28.3%), and Methanothrix (16.2%) were abundant in the double-chamber MFC.