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Date added: Apr 7, 2015 Biodegradation

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

In nature, different materials biodegrade at different rates, and a number of factors are important in the rate of degradation of organic compounds. To be able to work effectively, most microorganisms that assist the biodegradability need light, water and oxygen. Temperature is also an important factor in determining the rate of biodegradability. This is because microorganisms tend to reproduce faster in warmer conditions. The rate of degradation of many soluble organic compounds is limited by bioavailability when the compounds have a strong affinity for surfaces in the environment, and thus must be released to solution before organisms can degrade them.

Biodegradability can be measured in a number of ways. Scientists often use respirometry tests for aerobic microbes. First one places a solid waste sample in a container with microorganisms and soil, and then aerate the mixture. Over the course of several days, microorganisms digest the sample bit by bit and produce carbon dioxide – the resulting amount of CO2 serves as an indicator of degradation. Biodegradability can also be measured by anaerobic microbes and the amount of methane or alloy that they are able to produce. In formal scientific literature, the process is termed bio-remediation.

  
Approximated time for compounds to biodegrade in a marine environment



 

 

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