Aerobic Biodegradation

What makes a product biodegradable?

In the most basic sense, biodegradability is the ability for a product to be consumed by microorganisms. Biodegradability for the purposes of making claims (as an inherent property of the material) requires a bit more detail.

Currently, unless the product is 100% naturally derived and not materially changed in the manufacturing process, testing must be performed to enable a supplier to make legitimate claims on a products biodegradability.

What is the difference between Aerobic and Anaerobic Biodegradation?

From a microbial perspective, there are two methods for biodegradation:

  • Aerobic in which organisms use oxygen as part of the respiration for consumption of nutrients.
  • Anaerobic in which organisms use other elements such as sulfur, in the process of respiration and consumption of nutrients.

In the real world, there is typically a continuum of these two processes, but in waste treatment facilities, the facility is managed is such a way that one or the other process is the predominant form of degradation. For most commercial markets, aerobic biodegradation is preferred.

For more information on Biodegradation and Biodegradability Testing, contact our product test laboratory at 847-483-9950 or