Minimizing Foaming and Bulking in Activated Sludge with Bacteriophage Treatment: A Review of Mathematical Modeling

Alejandra Vesga-Baron, Rolando Chamy, Alain Vande Wouwer

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The interest in the ability of phages to control bacterial populations has extended from medical applications into the fields of agriculture, aquaculture, and the food industry. In particular, several authors have proposed using bacteriophages as an alternative method to control foaming and bulking in wastewater treatment. This strategy has shown successful results at the laboratory scale. However, this technology is still in development, and there are several challenges to overcome before bacteriophages can be widely used to control foaming and bulking in pilot or larger-scale treatment plants. Several models of the infection mechanisms in individual bacteria–phage pairs have been reported, i.e., for controlled systems with only one bacterium species in the presence of one phage species. However, activated sludge treatment systems largely differ from this situation, which opens a large horizon for future research. Mathematical models will play a key role in this development process, and this review offers an overview of the proposed models: their applications, potential, and challenges. A particular focus is placed on the model properties, such as parameter identifiability and states’ observability, which are essential for process prediction, monitoring, or dynamic optimization.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1600
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2022


  • biotechnology
  • estimation
  • mathematical modeling
  • population models
  • wastewater treatment


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