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Biotechnology and Bioengineering
110, No. 5, 2013; Pages: 1323 - 1332

Biofilm model calibration and microbial diversity study using Monte Carlo simulations

D. Brockmann, A. Caylet, R. Escudiť, J.-P. Steyer, N. Bernet

INRA, UR0050, Laboratoire de Biotechnologie de l'Environnement, Avenue des Etangs, Narbonne F-11100, France.

Mathematical models are useful tools for studying and exploring biological conversion processes as well as microbial competition in biological treatment processes. A single-species biofilm model was used to describe biofilm reactor operation at three different hydraulic retention times (HRT). The single-species biofilm model was calibrated with sparse experimental data using the Monte Carlo filtering method. This calibrated single-species biofilm model was then extended to a multi-species model considering 10 different heterotrophic bacteria. The aim was to study microbial diversity in bulk phase biomass and biofilm, as well as the competition between suspended and attached biomass. At steady state and independently of the HRT, Monte Carlo simulations resulted only in one unique dominating bacterial species for suspended and attached biomass. The dominating bacterial species was determined by the highest specific substrate affinity (ratio of µ/KS). At a short HRT of 20 min, the structure of the microbial community in the bulk liquid was determined by biomass detached from the biofilm. At a long HRT of 8 h, both biofilm detachment and microbial growth in the bulk liquid influenced the microbial community distribution.

Keywords: biofilm; calibration; HRT; microbial diversity; model; Monte Carlo simulation



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