Activated carbon fiber (ACF) was used as a model of commercial activated carbons to examine the effect of surface chemistry on the attachment behavior of bacterial biomass. Surface acidity was found to enhance the biomass-ACF interaction. When ACFs were applied as biomass support media in a continuous stirred tank reactor, surface acidity of the carbon resulted in faster biomass growth in the start-up phase. The start-up phase was simulated by a simple biomass attachment kinetics model. Experimental and calculated data show a reasonable agreement, with the exception of the hydrogenated specimen, which was interpreted by assuming that the hydrogen-reduced surface is highly reactive and then may undergo oxidation in the initial phase of operation so that the adsorption characteristics are altered.

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