This study characterized the subjective uncertainty in a model of the anaerobic-aerobic metabolism of phosphorus accumulating organisms and glycogen accumulating organisms in enhanced biological phosphorus removal via global sensitivity analysis. The magnitude and distribution of Sobol sensitivities showed that model prediction uncertainty was due to interactions between combinations of input uncertainties, rather than the direct effect of individual inputs. The prediction of dissolved components, intra-cellular glycogen and poly-phosphate was affected by the variability in 64% of the input parameters, whereas for intra-cellular PHA it was uniformly affected by all inputs. This analysis demonstrates and quantifies for the first time the propagation of combined uncertainties across EBPR metabolic models with a view to assess the overall impact of uncertainties of measured and/or estimated model parameters on the accurate prediction of phosphorus removal.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 8th IWA Microbial Ecology and Water Engineering Specialist Conference
Place of PublicationHiroshima, Japan
PublisherIWA Publishing
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2019


  • global sensitivity analysis
  • enhanced biological phosphorus removal
  • phosphorus accumulating organism
  • glycogen accumulating organism
  • metabolic model
  • wastewater treatment
  • monte carlo


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