loading page

Coupled CFD-DEM modelling to predict how EPS affects bacterial biofilm deformation, recovery and detachment under flow conditions
  • +5
  • Pahala Jayathilake,
  • Bowen Li,
  • Paolo Zuliani,
  • David Deehan,
  • Jennifer Longyear,
  • Paulk Stoodley,
  • Jinju Chen
Newcastle University Faculty of Science Agriculture and Engineering

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

Author Profile
Pahala Jayathilake
University of Oxford
Author Profile
Bowen Li
Newcastle University
Author Profile
Paolo Zuliani
Newcastle University
Author Profile
David Deehan
Newcastle University
Author Profile
Jennifer Longyear
International Paint Ltd Gateshead
Author Profile
Paulk Stoodley
The Ohio State University
Author Profile
Jinju Chen
Newcastle University
Author Profile


The deformation and detachment of bacterial biofilm are related to the structural and mechanical properties of the biofilm itself. Extracellular polymeric substances (EPS) play an important role on keeping the mechanical stability of biofilms. The understanding of biofilm mechanics and detachment can help to reveal biofilm survival mechanisms under fluid shear and provide insight about what flows might be needed to remove biofilm in a cleaning cycle or for a ship to remove biofilms. However, how the EPS may affect biofilm mechanics and its deformation in flow conditions remains elusive. To address this, a coupled computational fluid dynamic – discrete element method (CFD-DEM) model was developed. The mechanisms of biofilm detachment, such as erosion and sloughing have been revealed by imposing hydrodynamic fluid flow at different velocities and loading rates. The model, which also allows adjustment of the proportion of different functional group of microorganisms in the biofilm, enables the study of the contribution of EPS towards biofilm resistance to fluid shear stress. Furthermore, the stress-strain curves during biofilm deformation have been captured by loading and unloading fluid shear stress to study the viscoelastic properties of the biofilm.
09 Dec 2021Submitted to Biotechnology and Bioengineering
10 Dec 2021Submission Checks Completed
10 Dec 2021Assigned to Editor
20 Dec 2021Reviewer(s) Assigned
03 Mar 2022Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
03 Mar 2022Editorial Decision: Revise Major
30 Apr 20221st Revision Received
09 May 2022Submission Checks Completed
09 May 2022Assigned to Editor
14 May 2022Editorial Decision: Accept
14 May 2022Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
02 Jun 2022Published in Biotechnology and Bioengineering. 10.1002/bit.28146