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Environmental Health - Toxic Substances



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Aerobic Biodegradation


Aerobic Biodegradation - "The breakdown of organic contaminants by microorganisms when oxygen is present. Aerobic biodegradation also is known as aerobic respiration." - U.S. Geological Survey, 2010

Aerobic Biodegradation - "The degradation of compounds by microorganisms in the presence of oxygen. In aerobic biodegradation, microorganisms convert oxygen to water in the process of transforming other components to simpler products." - National Research Council, 1994

Aerobic Respiration - "Process whereby microorganisms use oxygen as an electron acceptor to generate energy." - National Research Council, 1993

Aerobic Respiration - "The process of destroying organic compounds with the aid of O2 [oxygen] is called aerobic respiration. In aerobic respiration, microbes use O2 to oxidize part of the carbon in the contaminant to carbon dioxide (CO2), with the rest of the carbon used to produce new cell mass. In the process the O2 gets reduced, producing water. Thus, the major byproducts of aerobic respiration are carbon dioxide, water, and an increased population of microorganisms." - National Research Council, 1993

Text in brackets ("[text]") are additions by the editor

Related Definitions




Anaerobic Biodegradation


Electron Acceptor

Electron Donor


Natural Attenuation

USGS Information on Biodegradation

Related Headlines

Other Information on Biodegradation


National Research Council, 1993, In situ bioremediation--When does it work?: Washington, D.C., National Academies Press, 224 p.

National Research Council, 1994, Alternatives for ground water cleanup: Washington, D.C., National Academies Press, 315 p.

U.S. Geological Survey, 2010, VOC's in the nation's ground water--Glossary: U.S. Geological Survey, access date July 22, 2010.


Disclaimer: The definitions on this page are provided for information purposes only, and do not indicate endorment by the U.S. Geological Survey.

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