Carbon cycling and the availability of organic carbon for nutrient removal processes are in most wastewater treatment systems restricted by the rate of hydrolysis of slowly biodegradable (particulate) organic matter. To date, the mechanisms of hydrolysis are not well understood for complex substrates and mixed populations. Most mathematical models use a simple one-step process to describe hydrolysis. In this article, mechanisms of hydrolysis and mathematical models to describe these processes in wastewater treatment processes are reviewed. Experimental techniques to determine mechanisms of hydrolysis and rate constants are discussed.

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