The study investigated the effect of feeding regime and sludge age on starch utilization. For this purpose, parallel sequencing batch reactors were operated with pulse and continuous feeding of soluble starch at sludge ages of 8 and 2 days. Pulse feeding induced almost complete conversion of starch to glycogen, while storage was lowered and accompanied with direct growth under continuous feeding, regardless of sludge age. Low sludge age did not alter simultaneous storage and utilization for direct growth but it slightly favoured direct utilization due to faster growing biomass. Experimental results suggested adsorption of starch onto biomass as a preliminary removal mechanism prior to hydrolysis at sludge age of 8 days. Adsorption was not noticeable as substrate removal, glycogen generation and dissolved oxygen decrease were synchronous at sludge age of 2 days. Bacterial community always included fractions storing glycogen although sludge age only affected the relative magnitude of filamentous growth. (C) 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.