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Environmental Health - Toxic Substances



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Anaerobic - "Able to live, grow, or take place where free oxygen is not present." - U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 2009

Anaerobic - "Not requiring molecular oxygen." - International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry, 1993

Anaerobic - "(a) Said of an organism (esp. a bacterium) that can live in the absence of free oxygen; also, said of its activities. (b) Said of conditions that exist only in the absence of free oxygen." - Wilson and Moore, 1998

Anaerobic - "Anaerobic organisms use substances other than oxygen as electron acceptors when degradating organic compounds." - National Research Council, 1994

Anaerobic - "Descriptive of a chemical reaction or a micro-organism that does not require the presence of air or oxygen; examples are the fermentation of sugars by yeast and the decomposition of sewage sludge by anaerobic bacteria. It also applies to certain polymers that solidify when kept out of contact with air." - Hawley, 1981

Related Definitions


Anaerobic Biodegradation


Electron Acceptor

Electron Donor


Aerobic Biodegradation


Natural Attenuation

USGS Information on Biodegradation

Related Headlines

Other Information on Biodegradation


Hawley, G.G., 1981, The condensed chemical dictionary: Van Nostrand Reinhold Company, 1135 p.

International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry, 1993, Glossary for chemists of terms used in toxicology: Pure and Applied Chemistry, v. 65, no. 9, p. 2003-2122.

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

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 2009, Glossary of technical terms: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, access date June 10, 2011.

Wilson, W.E., and Moore, J.E., 1998, Glossary of hydrology: Alexandria, Virginia, American Geological Institute, 248 p.

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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