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Biotechnol Bioeng. 1993 Mar 25;41(7):728-35.

A statistical analysis of the effect of substrate utilization and shear stress on the kinetics of biofilm detachment.

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


One of the least understood processes affecting biofilm accumulation is detachment. Detachment is the removal of cells and cell products from an established biofilm and subsequent entrainment in the bulk liquid. The goal of this research was to determine the effects of shear stress and substrate loading rate on the rate of biofilm detachment. Monopopulation Pseudomonas aeruginosa and undefined mixed population biofilms were grown on glucose in a RotoTorque biofilm reactor. Three levels of shear stress and substrate loading rate were used to determine their effects on the rate of detachment. Suspended cell concentrations were monitored to determine detachment rates, while other variables were measured to determine their influence on the detachment rate. Results indicate that detachment rate is directly related to biofilm growth rate and that factors which limit growth rate will also limit detachment rate. No significant influence of shear on detachment rate was observed.A new kinetic expression that incorporates substrate utilization rate, yield, and biofilm thickness was compared to published detachment expressions and gives a better correlation of data obtained both in this research and from previous research projects, for both mono- and mixed-population biofilms.


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