Particle-based multidimensional multispecies biofilm model

Cristian Picioreanu, Jan Ulrich Kreft, Mark C.M. Van Loosdrecht

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

259 Scopus citations


In this paper we describe a spatially multidimensional (two-dimensional [2-D] and three-dimensional [3-D]) particle-based approach for modeling the dynamics of multispecies biofilms growing on multiple substrates. The model is based on diffusion-reaction mass balances for chemical species coupled with microbial growth and spreading of biomass represented by hard spherical particles. Effectively, this is a scaled-up version of a previously proposed individual-based biofilm model. Predictions of this new particle-based model were quantitatively compared with those obtained with an established one-dimensional (1-D) multispecies model for equivalent problems. A nitrifying biofilm containing aerobic ammonium and nitrite oxidizers, anaerobic ammonium oxidizers, and inert biomass was chosen as an example. The 2-D and 3-D models generally gave the same results. If only the average flux of nutrients needs to be known, 2-D and I-D models are very similar. However, the behavior of intermediates, which are produced and consumed in different locations within the biofilm, is better described in 2-D and 3-D models because of the multidirectional concentration gradients. The predictions of 2-D or 3-D models are also different from those of 1-D models for slowly growing or minority species in the biofilm. This aspect is related to the mechanism of biomass spreading or advection implemented in the models and should receive more attention in future experimental studies.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3024-3040
Number of pages17
JournalApplied and Environmental Microbiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2004
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Generated from Scopus record by KAUST IRTS on 2022-09-13

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Food Science
  • Biotechnology


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