Biogas production from microwave-pretreated agricultural residual straws that are used as feedstock was investigated in a laboratory batch study. Barley, spring wheat, winter wheat and oat straw were examined. To investigate the effect of changing the physicochemical structure of the straws on biogas production, the pretreatment processes were applied to two sample groups. The first group contained milled straw and the second group comprised milled wet straw that was prepared by the addition of deionized water. Both groups were subjected to microwave irradiation until oven temperatures of 200 or 300 degrees C were attained. Sixty-six identical batch anaerobic reactors were run under mesophilic conditions for 60 days. Preliminary test results showed that the microwave pretreatment of the different straws did not improve their anaerobic digestion. An increase in the treatment temperature led to lower biogas production levels. An inverse relationship between the thermal conversion yield and cumulative biogas production was observed. (C) 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.