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Structure of RBC biofilms

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A laboratory-scale model of a rotating biological contactor (RBC) was used to investigate the variations in the structural features of the biofilms formed in the four consecutive compartments of the model during both the early and late stages of the biofilms' development. Microtome sectioning of biofilms showed that, in the early stages of growth, the biofilms were predominantly occupied by nonfilamentous bacteria, and some protozoa were present. However, the biofilms in later stages were mostly filamentous. Biofilm porosity was found to decrease with depth in the biofilm and from one compartment to another, and this decrease was associated with a decrease in pore size. The biofilm porosity/density appeared to be a function of the organic loading. In contrast to biofilms in late-formation stages, the areal distributions of both microorganisms and pores in biofilms in the early stages of development were relatively uniform through the biofilm. Scanning electron examination of RBC biofilms revealed that biofilm surfaces possessed some fractal properties.

Keywords: biofilm; density; filamentous bacteria; morphology; porosity; rotating biological contactors

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2175/WER.66.2.2

Publication date: March 1, 1994

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  • Water Environment Research® (WER®) publishes peer-reviewed research papers, research notes, state-of-the-art and critical reviews on original, fundamental and applied research in all scientific and technical areas related to water quality, pollution control, and management. An annual Literature Review provides a review of published books and articles on water quality topics from the previous year.

    Published as: Sewage Works Journal, 1928 - 1949; Sewage and Industrial Wastes, 1950 - 1959; Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, 1959 - Oct 1989; Research Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, Nov 1989 - 1991; Water Environment Research, 1992 - present.
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