How aromatic compounds are degraded in various anaerobic ecosystems (e.g. groundwater, sediments, soils and wastewater) is currently poorly understood. Under methanogenic conditions (i.e. groundwater and wastewater treatment), syntrophic metabolizers are known to play an important role. This study explored the draft genome of Syntrophorhabdus aromaticivorans strain UI and identified the first syntrophic phenol-degrading phenylphosphate synthase (PpsAB) and phenylphosphate carboxylase (PpcABCD) and syntrophic terephthalate-degrading decarboxylase complexes. The strain UI genome also encodes benzoate degradation through hydration of the dienoyl-coenzyme A intermediate as observed in Geobacter metallireducens and Syntrophus aciditrophicus. Strain UI possesses electron transfer flavoproteins, hydrogenases and formate dehydrogenases essential for syntrophic metabolism. However, the biochemical mechanisms for electron transport between these H2 /formate-generating proteins and syntrophic substrate degradation remain unknown for many syntrophic metabolizers, including strain UI. Analysis of the strain UI genome revealed that heterodisulfide reductases (HdrABC), which are poorly understood electron transfer genes, may contribute to syntrophic H2 and formate generation. The genome analysis further identified a putative ion-translocating ferredoxin : NADH oxidoreductase (IfoAB) that may interact with HdrABC and dissimilatory sulfite reductase gamma subunit (DsrC) to perform novel electron transfer mechanisms associated with syntrophic metabolism.