Models of carbon-limited algal biofilms have shown that the pH can increase significantly within the biofilm, and consequently, although the total inorganic carbon is not entirely depleted within the film, the amount of CO2 available for substrate use is reduced. The presence of a buffer offsets this pH limitation and increases the flux of inorganic carbon into the film. A rigorous model is developed to investigate the role of a phosphate buffer, multiple background ions, and cell surface charge density on the flux of inorganic carbon into algal biofilms. The effects of the presence of a concentration boundary layer (CBL), light limitations, and activity corrections are included in the analysis. Results of the model establish that the phosphate buffer, the presence of a CBL, and light limitations have a significant impact on the predicted flux of inorganic carbon into algal biofilms, whereas the effects of background ions, activity corrections, and algal surface charges can be neglected.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Environmental Chemistry
- Ecological Modeling
- Water Science and Technology
- Waste Management and Disposal