Results from the multi-species benchmark problem (BM3) using one-dimensional models

B. E. Rittmann, A. O. Schwarz, H. J. Eberl, E. Morgenroth, Julio Perez, Mark van Loosdrecht, Oskar Wanner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


The IWA's Biofilm Modeling Task Group created a multi-species benchmark problem in which heterotrophic bacteria, nitrifying bacteria, and inert biomass coexist in a biofilm. Members of the Task Group submitted solutions from nine different one-dimensional models. The most important distinctions among the models were (1) whether the model required a full numerical solution or was solved with a spreadsheet, and (2) the way the biomass types were distributed in the biofilm. The models that protected the slow-growing species by having them accumulate away from the outer surface always had the largest surface coverage by nitrifiers and inerts, but the heterotroph coverage declined to compensate. Coverage by heterotrophs and removal of substrate COD were most strongly affected by dilution from nitrifiers and inerts near the outer surface. Models that did not allow the nitrifiers and inerts to dilute the heterotrophs significantly in the outer layer predicted more removal of COD than did the other models. The choice of the model to use depends on the user's needs and the relative importance of including protection of slow-growing species and/or dilution of fast-growing species.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)163-168
Number of pages6
JournalWater Science and Technology
Issue number11-12
StatePublished - 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Biofilm
  • Heterotrophs
  • Inert biomass
  • Mathematical models
  • Multi-species
  • Nitrifiers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Water Science and Technology


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