Degradation Mechanisms of Colloidal Organic Matter in Biofilm Reactors

Tove Larsen, Poul Harremoës

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


    The degradation mechanisms of colloidal organic matter in biofilm reactors have been studied in an idealized laboratory reactor system with soluble starch as a model substrate. Batch tests and experiments with different reactor configurations have shown that for this specific substrate, bulk liquid hydrolysis is the mechanism for transforming non-diffusible organic matter into biofilm diffusible substrate. A simplified mathematical description has led to the identification of the degree of hydrolysis, DH, as the parameter expressing the major difference between degradation of diffusible and non-diffusible organic matter in a biofilm reactor. DH depends on the combined volumetric and surface hydraulic loading rate, Q2/(AV). In full-scale wastewater treatment plants, the degradation mechanism presented in this paper can explain important differences between the performance of trickling filters and RBC reactors.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalWater Research
    Issue number6
    Pages (from-to)1443-1452
    Publication statusPublished - 1994


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