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Modeling algal biofilms: Role of carbon, light, cell surface charge, and ionic species

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Models of carbon-limited algal biofilms have shown that the pH can increase significantly within the biofilm, and consequently, although the total inorganic carbon is not entirely depleted within the film, the amount of CO2 available for substrate use is reduced. The presence of a buffer offsets this pH limitation and increases the flux of inorganic carbon into the film. A rigorous model is developed to investigate the role of a phosphate buffer, multiple background ions, and cell surface charge density on the flux of inorganic carbon into algal biofilms. The effects of the presence of a concentration boundary layer (CBL), light limitations, and activity corrections are included in the analysis. Results of the model establish that the phosphate buffer, the presence of a CBL, and light limitations have a significant impact on the predicted flux of inorganic carbon into algal biofilms, whereas the effects of background ions, activity corrections, and algal surface charges can be neglected.


Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2175/106143095X131222

Publication date: January 1, 1995

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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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