Inverse problems for a model of biofilm growth
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionIMA Journal of Applied Mathematics. 2023, 88 (2), 258-281. 10.1093/imamat/hxad008
A bacterial biofilm is an aggregate of micro-organisms growing fixed onto a solid surface, rather than floating freely in a liquid. Biofilms play a major role in various practical situations such as surgical infections and water treatment. We consider a non-linear partial differential equation (PDE) model of biofilm growth subject to initial and Dirichlet boundary conditions, and the inverse coefficient problem of recovering the unknown parameters in the model from extra measurements of quantities related to the biofilm and substrate. By addressing and analysing this inverse problem, we provide reliable and robust reconstructions of the primary physical quantities of interest represented by the diffusion coefficients of substrate and biofilm, the biomass spreading parameters, the maximum specific consumption and growth rates, the biofilm decay rate and the half saturation constant. We give particular attention to the constant coefficients involved in the leading-part non-linearity, and present a uniqueness proof and some numerical results. In the course of the numerical investigation, we have identified extra data information that enables improving the reconstruction of the eight-parameter set of physical quantities associated to the model of biofilm growth.