Realistic characterizations of biodegradation.
Brandt, B.W. 2002.
Realistic characterizations of biodegradation. PhD-thesis
Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam.
Humankind has produced over 70.000 chemicals that are all sooner or
later released into the environment. In the sixties resistant
pesticides and persistent detergents caused environmental pollution.
Later the first tests on biodegradability were conceived and the
Environmental Protection Agency formed the Office of Pollution
Prevention and Toxics (OPPT) in 1977. Nowadays, new chemicals are
tested for toxicity and biodegradability before they are admitted to
the consumer market. These tests are carried out world-wide according
to the guidelines established by the Organization for Economic
Co-operation and Development, the European Union, the International
Organization for Standardization, and the Environmental Protection
Task forces on biodegradation tests of, for example, the Society of
Toxicity and Environmental Chemistry (SETAC) and of the industry
recognize shortcomings in the protocols and in the interpretation of
standardized biodegradation tests, in particular with the analysis of
the test results.
Three areas have been selected to work on in this project:
These topics have been selected because "standard" models fail to
capture these important aspects of microbial degradation.
- mass-transfer limitation and growth of microbial flocs
- multiple-substrate utilization and co-metabolism
- slow microbial adaptation to changing feeding conditions