The biodesulphurization of Mengen lignite by a mesophilic bacterium, Rhodococcus rhodochrous ATCC 53968, was investigated in a batch stirred and aerated reactor. The experiments were carried out at 28 degrees C with an inoculum percentage, initial pH, initial sodium acetate and lignite concentration of the biodesulphurization medium of 8% [v/v], 6.5 mM, 20 mM and 20 g/l, respectively. Variations in the sulphur contents of the lignite relative to the biodesulphurization period were monitored. The effects of the stirring and aeration rates on the removal of different sulphur forms from coal were investigated in the ranges 450-1,200 rpm and 0.1-0.53 vvm and the optimum values were found to be 500 rpm and 0.18 vvm, respectively. An increase in the total sulphur reduction with increasing biodesulphurization time was observed. The maximum total sulphur removal percentage was found to be 15.2% at 1,200 rpm after four days of incubation. The highest total sulphur removal rate was calculated on the second day of microbial desulphurization for each run. The total and organic sulphur contents of the coal after biodesulphurization were correlated with the stirring and aeration rates by using the non-linear least squares regression method. In the experimental runs lasting 8 days, the highest organic sulphur reducing percentage of 10.1% was obtained at a stirring rate of 500 rpm and an aeration rate of 0.40 vvm.