Most of the studies on sewage sludge treatment in literature were conducted for methane generation under acidic or near neutral pH conditions. It was reported in our previous studies that the accumulation of short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), the preferred carbon source of biological wastewater nutrient removal, was significantly enhanced when sludge was fermented under alkaline conditions, but the optimal pH was temperature-dependent (pH 10 at ambient temperature, pH 9 at mesophilic, and pH 8 at thermophilic), and the maximal SCFAs yields were in the following order: thermophilic pH 8 > mesophilic pH 9 > ambient pH 10 > ambient uncontrolled pH. In this study the kinetic and microbiological features of waste activated sludge fermented in the range of pH 7-10 were investigated to understand the mechanism of remarkably high SCFAs accumulation under alkaline conditions. The developed sludge alkaline fermentation model could be applied to predicate the experimental data in either batch or semicontinuous sludge alkaline fermentation tests, and the relationships among alkaline pH, kinetic parameters, and SCFAs were discussed. Further analyses with fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) and PCR-based 16S rRNA gene clone library indicated that both the ratio of bacteria to archaea and the fraction of SCFAs producer accounting for bacteria were in the sequence of thermophilic pH 8 > mesophilic pH 9 > ambient pH 10 > ambient uncontrolled pH, which was in correspondence with the observed order of maximal SCFAs yields.