Hermann Eberl (University of Guelph)

Biofilm based bioremediation: A macroscale model derived from the mesoscopic 1D Wanner-Gujer model, and its application to bioreduction of Uranium in soils

3 May 2023, 11:00-12:00 in HG03.085


Bioremediation of soils refers to the use of bacteria to clean up contaminants in soils. Often this involves technology based on bacterial biofilms, i.e. accummulations of bacteria that form on interfaces and surfaces. Many mathematically very different models for biofilm formation (on the colony scale) have been developed since the 1980s. In this talk we choose one of them, the classical 1D Wanner-Gujer biofilm model as the starting point to derive a macroscale bioremediation model. We will discuss this for the possibly simplest generic setting, and then apply these ideas to a more specific and involved setting, namely the bioreduction of Uranium [VI] to Uranium [IV] which is easier to remove. In both cases we find that the upscaling procedure, starting from the Wanner-Gujer 1D biofilm model, leads to a model akin to a plug flow version of Plattes' zero-dimensional biofilm reactor framework. However, due to the transport terms in our case instead of obtaining an ODE system we obtain a quasilinear stiff first order balance equation (more specifically: a PDE/ODE coupled system) that we investigate in numerical simulations.

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