ISO 17556 – Ultimate Aerobic Biodegradation

ISO 17556 is an ultimate aerobic biodegradation test method that determines the ultimate aerobic biodegradability of a material in soil by measuring oxygen demand in a respirometer or the amount of carbon dioxide evolved.Compostable products are becoming more readily available, however, must undergo product testing to gain market and regulatory acceptance

This method is similar to other Compost methods; ISO 17556 is a minimum 90 day aerobic biodegradation test.

Instead of measuring Theoretical Carbon Dioxide (ThCO2), ISO 17556 determines ultimate aerobic biodegradability in soil by measuring the oxygen demand or the amount of carbon dioxide evolved.

ISO 17556 is commonly used for natural and/or synthetic polymers, plastics materials that contain additives like plasticizers or colorants, water-soluble polymers, and other materials that do not inhibit microorganism activity in soil. The mean value of the plateau phase from testing determines the degree of biodegradation for the test sample.

To successfully compost a material or product, it must pass the phytotoxicity test to determine the quality of compost.If results show a low biodegradability, knowing the toxicity of the test material may help interpret poor biodegradability results.

Choosing the correct biodegradation test method can be challenging and should be determined by the products intended use, disposal, and regulatory requirements needed to make performance claims.

It is highly recommended that customers check with their respective regulatory agency to determine which biodegradation test is required to make performance claims about their product’s biodegradability.

For more information about Biodegradation testing, contact our biodegradation laboratory at 847-483-9950 or