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 Agency.

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.


Nederlandse samenvatting

Full text in pdf format

Bernd's project page