Bacterial communities when subjected to feast-famine conditions as occurring in many wastewater treatment systems store substrates as reserve polymers. Including storage polymers in a description of microbial growth processes makes important the choice of kinetic relations. Presently there is no sound description for the diversion of substrate towards biomass growth or substrate storage. Based on observations with pure cultures and mixed cultures growing under dynamic conditions a model is proposed to describe such behaviour. This description is based on the observation that bacteria in order to grow fast have to induce a high level of RNA and proteins in order to allow fast growth. We assume that this protein synthesising system is only induced in the presence of external substrates. Based on this assumption a model structure is proposed and evaluated. It seems that this model can predict the turnover of PHA in the cells correctly, and describes well the overall behaviour mixed culture SBR systems. However especially the growth rate in the famine phase seems to be overestimated. The model defined here is a contribution to a further development of mechanistically based models for activated sludge processes.

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