Environmental Health - Toxic Substances
Biodegradation - "Transformation of a substance into new compounds through biochemical reactions or the actions of microorganisms such as bacteria." - U.S. Geological Survey, 2007
Biodegradation - "A process by which microbial organisms transform or alter (through metabolic or enzymatic action) the structure of chemicals introduced into the environment." - U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 2009
Biodegradation – “Breakdown of a substance catalyzed by enzymes in vitro or in vivo. This may be characterized for purpose of hazard assessment as:
Biodegradation - "Biotransformation that results in degradation of the pesticide molecule also called biodegradation, although the latter term sometimes refers to degradation processes in which the pesticide serves as a substrate for growth (e.g., Bollag and Liu, 1990)." - Nowell and others, 1999
Biodegradability (or biodegradation potential) - "The relative ease with which petroleum hydrocarbons will degrade as a result of biological metabolism. Although virtually all petroleum hydrocarbons are biodegradable, biodegradability is highly variable and dependent somewhat on the type of hydrocarbon. In general, biodegradability increases with increasing solubility; solubility is inversely proportional to molecular weight." - U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 2009
USGS Information on Biodegradation
Other Information on Biodegradation
Bollag, J.M., and Liu, S.Y., 1990, Biological transformation processes in pesticides, in Cheng, H.H., ed., Pesticides in the soil environment: Processes, impacts, and modeling: Madison, Wis., Soil Science Society of America, p. 169-211.
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.
Nowell, L.H., Capel, P.D., and Dileanis, P.D., 1999, Pesticides in stream sediment and aquatic biota--Distribution, trends, and governing factors: Boca Raton, Fla., Lewis Publishers, 1001 p.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 2009, Glossary of technical terms: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, access date July 21, 2010.
U.S. Geological Survey, 2007, Glossary--Biodegradation: U.S. Geological Survey, access date July 21, 2010.
Disclaimer: The definitions on this page are provided for information purposes only, and do not indicate endorment by the U.S. Geological Survey.