A packed bed biofilm reactor inoculated with pure culture Pseudomonas aeruginosa was run under high substrate loading and constant flow rate conditions. The 3.1-cm-diameter cylindrical reactor was 5 cm in length and packed with 1-mm glass beads. Daily observations of biofilm thickness, influent and effluent glucose substrate concentration, and effluent dissolved and total organic carbon were made during the 13-day experiment. Biofilm thickness appeared to rech quasi-steady-state condition after 10 days. A published biofilm process simulation program (AQUASIM) was used to analyze experimental data. Comparison of observed and simulated variables revealed three distinct phases of biofilm accumulation during the experiment: an initial phase, a growth phase, and a mature biofilm phase. Different combinations of biofilm and mass transport process variables were found to be important during each phase. Biofilm detachment was highly correlated with shear at the biofilm surface during all three phases of biofilm development. © 1995 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
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