The production of acid mine drainage (AMD) containing high amounts of sulfate, heavy metals and low pH is of increasing concern. AMD is highly corrosive and results in economic and environmental problems. Organic electron donors for sulfate reduction were chemically characterised for potential use in AMD treatment. This was done in a process to develop a correlation between chemical composition and the capacity to drive sulfate reduction. Potential organic electron donors for sulfate reduction were chemically characterised in terms of dry matter content, ash content, total Kjeldahl nitrogen, lignin content, cellulose content, crude fat, crude fibre, in vitro digestibility, water-soluble carbohydrates, total non-structural carbohydrates and starch content. The chemical composition of the organic electron donors was then compared to results obtained from pilot plant studies where the organic electron donors for sulfate reduction were evaluated in terms of sulfate reduction. The chemical composition of the carbon source severely impacted its capacity to drive sulfate reduction and may be used to assist in predicting the sulfate reduction capacity of a carbon source. Organic electron donors for sulfate reduction high in protein content and low in lignin content or high in carbohydrate and crude fat content increased the capacity of a carbon source to drive sulfate reduction. The higher the fibre content of a carbon source, the lower the capacity to drive sulfate reduction. No correlation could be drawn between % dry matter, % ash content and sulfate reduction for the organic electron donors tested. Chemical characterisation can be used to assist in predicting sulfate reduction capacity of organic electron donors.