A 3D Biofilm model, appropriate for complex porous media support structures, is successfully modified such that non-zero permeability of biofilms structures is enabled. A systematic study is then conducted into the influence of biofilm permeability on overall biomass growth rate. This reveals a significant influence at large biofilm concentrations; even when the permeability of the biomass is 1.25% of that of the free pore space, biomass accumulation increased by a factor of ~3 over 40h. The effect is shown to be retained when allowing for biomass detachment or erosion as a consequence of adjacent velocity shear. We conclude that biofilm permeability should be included in biofilm models and that further experimental work is required to better describe the link between biofilm permeability and local microstructure. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology