Substrate flux into biofilms of any thickness

B. E. Rittman, P. L. McCarty

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

153 Scopus citations


A kinetic model is developed for determining substrate flux into biofilms with known thickness, even though the thickness may be of nonsteady state. The critical contribution of this model is that mass transport resistance is explicity included in order that the flux becomes a direct function of the bulk substrate concentration. Laboratory-scale, column reactors were utilized to culture steady-state biofilms of known thickness. Subsequently, the influent flow rate of substrate concentration was changed to determine the short-term kinetics of substrate utilization of biofilms of known thicknesses. The model successfully predicted the column performance, except for cases in which oxygen depletion caused dual-substrate limitation. Removal of substrate to very low levels was only possible during short-term experiments when the biofilm was in net decay.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)831-849
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of the Environmental Engineering Division
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 1981
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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