Effect of diffusive and convective substrate transport on biofilm structure formation: A two-dimensional modeling study

Cristian Picioreanu, Mark C.M. Van Loosdrecht, Joseph J. Heijnen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

200 Scopus citations

Abstract

A two-dimensional model for quantitative evaluation of the effect of convective and diffusive substrate transport on biofilm heterogeneity was developed. The model includes flow computation around the irregular biofilm surface, substrate mass transfer by convection and diffusion, biomass growth, and biomass spreading. It was found that in the absence of detachment, biofilm heterogeneity is mainly determined by internal mass transfer rate of substrates and by the initial percentage of carrier-surface colonization. Model predictions show that biofilm structures with highly irregular surface develop in the mass transfer-limited regime. As the nutrient availability increases, there is a gradual shift toward compact and smooth biofilms. A smaller fraction of colonized carrier surface leads to a patchy biofilm. Biofilm surface irregularity and deep vertical channels are, in this case, caused by the inability of the colonies to spread over the whole substratum surface. The maximum substrate flux to the biofilm was greatly influenced by both internal and external mass transfer rates, but not affected by the inoculation density. In general, results of the present model were similar to those obtained by a simple diffusion-reaction-growth model.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)504-515
Number of pages12
JournalBiotechnology and Bioengineering
Volume69
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 5 2000
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Biotechnology

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