A mathematical model for the degradation of colloidal organic matter in biofilm reactors has been developed. Contradictory to existing theories, the model includes bulk liquid hydrolysis as the first important step in the degradation sequence. This leads to unexpected effects of different reactor configurations. The model was successfully verified with native starch as a model substrate. Observed differences in colloid removal capacity between trickling filters and RBC-reactors are well explained by the model.

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