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Biodegradability: Methods for Assessing Biodegradability Under Laboratory and Field Conditions

  1. Eugene L. Madsen

Published Online: 15 APR 2003

DOI: 10.1002/047126363X.agr341

Encyclopedia of Agrochemicals

Encyclopedia of Agrochemicals

How to Cite

Madsen, E. L. 2003. Biodegradability: Methods for Assessing Biodegradability Under Laboratory and Field Conditions. Encyclopedia of Agrochemicals. .

Author Information

  1. Cornell University, Ithaca, New York

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 APR 2003

Abstract

“Biodegradation” of organic compounds is the partial simplification or complete destruction of their molecular structure by physiological reactions catalyzed by microorganisms. Understanding and proving biodegradation processes under laboratory and field conditions is a science of ongoing discovery. This discovery requires a close dialog among many disciplines. It must be recognized that only under relatively rare circumstances is a proof of field bioremediation unequivocal when a single piece of evidence is relied on. In the majority of cases, the complexities of contaminant mixtures, their hydrogeochemical settings, and accounting for competing abiotic mechanisms of contaminant loss make it a challenge to document biodegradation processes.

Keywords:

  • biodegradation;
  • biogeochemistry;
  • bioremediation;
  • microbial processes;
  • physiological reactions;
  • abiotic mechanisms;
  • hydrogeochemical settings