Membrane-aerated biofilm reactors (MABRs) are advantageous for wastewater treatment because of their ability to achieve both nitrification and denitrification in a single bioreactor. The stratification of membrane aerated biofilms, however, needs to be better understood so that MABRs can be properly designed and implemented. In this study, we present a modified multi-population model that accounts for variation in effective diffusivity in biofilms of variable biomass density. For biofilms grown at a low fluid velocity (2 cm s−1), the variation in effective diffusivity had a profound effect on the predicted stratification and activity of bacterial populations. For biofilms grown at a high fluid velocity (14 cm s−1), biomass density was relatively constant as a function of depth and thus there was less substantial variation in effective diffusivity; our modified model, therefore, predicted a population stratification that was similar to its original version under these conditions.

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