Biofilm detachment mechanisms in a liquid‐fluidized bed

H. Ted Chang, Bruce E. Rittmann, D. Amar, R. Heim, O. Ehlinger, Y. Lesty

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

157 Scopus citations


Bed fluidization offers the possibility of gaining the advantages of fixed‐film biological processes without the disadvantage of pore clogging. However, the biofilm detachment rate, due to hydrodynamics and particle‐to‐particle attrition, is very poorly understood for fluidized‐bed biofilm processes. In this work, a two‐phase fluidized‐bed biofilm was operated under a constant surface loading (0.09 mg total organic carbon/cm2 day) and with a range of bed height (H), fluid velocities (U), and support‐particle concentrations (Cp). Direct measurements were made for the specific biofilm loss rate coefficient (bs)and the total biofilm accumulation (XfLf). A hydrodynamic model allowed independent determination of the biofilm density (Xf), biofilm thickness (Lf), liquid shear stress (τ), and Reynolds number (Re). Multiple regression analysis of the results showed that increased particle‐to‐particle attrition, proportional to Cp and increased turbulence, described by Re, caused the biofilms to be denser and thinner. The specific detachment rate coefficient (bs) increased as Cp and Re increased. Almost all of the 6, values were larger than predicted by a previous model derived for smooth biofilms on a nonfluidized surface. Therefore, the turbulence and attrition of bed fluidization appear to be dominant detachment mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)499-506
Number of pages8
JournalBiotechnology and bioengineering
Issue number5
StatePublished - Aug 20 1991
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology


Dive into the research topics of 'Biofilm detachment mechanisms in a liquid‐fluidized bed'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this