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Publication Title

Journal of Environmental Engineering


A procedure is presented for evaluating and comparing the biological activity of biofilms attached to various biofilm carriers by measurement of the glucose consumption rate. This technique allows for the economical design and selection of small particulate biofilm carriers that will maximize substrate removal when used in industrial-scale fluidized bioreactors. Methods for ensuring reproducible results are described. To support the glucose consumption rate findings, biofilm dry weights were obtained at the conclusion of activity rate experiments, and scanning electron micrographs were taken to evaluate the presence of biofilm and to view surface characteristics. Fourteen different biofilm carriers were evaluated ranging from commercially available products to novel carriers designed specifically for this study. Carriers that exhibited the highest reaction rates in descending order included: Syntrex 1220 (Kinetico, Inc.), Kaldnes Carrier Element—Modified (Kaldnes North America, Inc.), Kaldnes Carrier Element—Original (Kaldnes North America, Inc.), Macrolite Modified CEPP-02 (Kinetico, Inc.), Macrolite 357 (Kinetco, Inc.), and Virgin Foam Cubes (BB Bradley Co.). Results showed that the accumulation of biofilm depended most strongly on carrier surface properties, such as surface roughness and specific surface area. The biofilm activity as measured by glucose consumption rate correlated well with activity determinations made by COD measurements when a complex carbohydrate was used as substrate in place of glucose. Substrate consumption rates in microreactors were within ±43%of those measured in a 3-L bioreactor. The method presented here produced highly reproducible results and may be used to accurately and economically screen a large number of newly-designed carriers for application in industrial bioreactor processes.

Original Citation

Procedure to Quantify Biofilm Activity on Carriers Used in Wastewater Treatment Systems Bolton, J., Tummala, A., Kapadia, C., Dandamudi, M., and Belovich, J. Journal of Environmental Engineering 2006 132:11, 1422-1430






10.1061i(ASCE)0733-9372(2006)132: 11 (1422)