Paper, fiberboard and corrugated products can have issues with pro- or anti-microbial contamination.
Composed of natural and synthetic materials, paper and paper-based products are frequently challenged when it comes to fending off microbial growth. Industrially produced Consumer Product this may or may not be a desired property. The same qualities that make for quality paper products used in consumer products or as building materials may also interfere with the biochemical process at the core of biodegradability testing.
Paper products intended to antimicrobial resistant properties must be appropriately tested for both anti-bacterial and anti-fungal performance to assure a durable; problem free products. Paper fibers are naturally consumable by microorganisms and will require a range of technologies to prevent microbial colonization of the material.
Proper testing for and assessing the management of microbial nutrients, and moisture are common industrial test strategies used for this purpose. Paperboard, corrugated, cartons, coated and high-gloss paper, cardboard, filters and paper slurry are products commonly tested at the lab for resistance to microbial growth or contamination issues.
Depending on the industrial use or antimicrobial property needed tests such as the ASTM G21, or ASTM D3273 are used as well as other ASTM methods, depending on the finished product performance requirements.
Just the opposite is required for paper materials intended for biodegradation as a means of disposal. For these products a sound strategy should be considered for limiting additive chemistries that may prevent organisms from accessing the inherent natural fibers present in the paper product.
Biodegradation tests performed at the lab for paper products include ASTM D6400, ASTM D5338 and ASTM D2020. In some case, biodegradation testing is done using ASTM D6868 especially for materials with polymeric coatings and resins.