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Biotechnol Bioeng. 1993 Jan 5;41(1):111-7.

A model of biofilm detachment.

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Center for Interfacial Microbial Process Engineering, College of Engineering Montana State University, Bozeman, Montana 59717, USA.


A general mathematical framework for modeling biofilm detachment is presented. The approach is founded on a material balance on biomass that equates the detachment rate to the product of a detachment frequency and a detaching particle mass. The model provides a theoretical basis for deriving many of the empirical detachment rate expressions in common use and can thus lend some insight into their physical and biological significance. By allowing for variation in the detachment frequency with depth in the biofilm, the model permits derivation of detachment expressions that reflect a dependence on chemical or physiological gradients in the biofilm. Analysis of literature data sets from two different biofilm systems suggests, in both cases, that detachment is a growth-associated phenomenon.


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