This paper presents a mechanistic model incorporating microbial growth on external substrate with simultaneous formation of storage biopolymers (activated sludge model for growth and storage-ASMGS) for the utilization of starch by activated sludge. Model description and calibration utilized experimental data of an SBR fed with particulate native potato starch (NPS) and soluble starch (SoIS) selected as model substrates. The fate of starch was monitored in a cycle together with glycogen and oxygen uptake rate (OUR) profiles. In the experiments, glycogen formation was significantly lower than predicted by total conversion of starch to glycogen, justifying the need to account for primary growth on starch. The proposed model basically modified Activated Sludge Model No.3 (ASM3), to include adsorption of starch, its hydrolysis and simultaneous growth and glycogen formation using the hydrolysis products, which was mainly maltose. Model simulations indicated hydrolysis of the adsorbed starch as the rate limiting process. The proposed model calibrated well the fate of all major model components, namely, starch, glycogen, and OUR. Particulate NPS and SoIS were hydrolyzed with similar rates; however, primary and secondary growth processes on SoIS were more efficient, with higher yields, due to the more easily utilizable products of SoIS, both in terms of extracellular hydrolysis and of stored poly-glucose. Modeling with ASM3, assuming starch as either readily or slowly biodegradable, did not provide an equally acceptable fit for the glycogen and OUR curves; supporting the need to consider primary growth together with storage as defined in the proposed model. (c) 2006 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.