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Biotechnol Adv. 1992;10(1):69-91.

Microbial attachment and growth in fixed-film reactors: process startup considerations.

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Department of Biotechnology, Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand.


Optimal steady-state performance of any biofilm reactor requires a fully developed and mature biofilm. During fixed-film reactor startup phase, biofilm is in process of development and accordingly, process performance is difficult to quantify. Environmental, cellular and surface factors greatly influence the process of biofilm formation during reactor startup. Improved knowledge of nutritional, toxicological and environmental requirements of wastewater degrading microorganisms has helped define optimal microbial growth conditions. In case of anaerobic fixed film reactors the startup is hindered by low microbial growth rates, strict environmental requirements and limited ability of methanogens to adhere and form fixed biofilms. These obstacles could be overcome by proper support media selection and formulation of appropriate inoculation procedures and startup strategies.

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