Comparison of Test Systems for the Examination of the Fermentability of Biodegradable Materials

  • Joern Heerenklage
  • Francesca Colombo
  • Rainer Stegmann


The examination of the biodegradability of biodegradable materials is of crucial importance for the product launch and for the disposal of these products. Biodegradable materials can be biodegraded under aerobic as well as under anaerobic environmental conditions. The examination of biodegradability under aerobic environmental conditions alone is not sufficient.There are some materials, which are biodegradable under aerobic environmental conditions, but an anaerobic biodegradation cannot be observed. Anaerobic biodegradation is to be investigated by use of standardised test methods for different materials. For the examination of the biodegradability under anaerobic conditions bench scale studies were carried out on two different test systems respecting the ISO DIS 14853. On the one hand gas production was measured with a volumetric test system using the principle of displacement volume, on the other hand in a manometric test system .the determination of gas production was carried out via determination of gas pressure. Both test systems were compared. Materials tested were Polyhydroxybutyrate (PHB), Poly-e-caprolacton (PCL) and Ecoflex®. The assessment of the degree of their anaerobic biodegradability was carried out via determination of the gas production. The investigations have demonstrated, that with both test systems comparable results can be achieved. In comparison with the manual determination of the gas displacement volume when using the volumetric test method the rates of gas production can thus be registered automatically when using the manometric method. The biodegradability of PHB was confirmed by both test systems. PCL and Ecoflex® are not biodegradable under anaerobic conditions according to ISO DIS 14385.


Biogas Production Total Organic Carbon Content Anaerobic Degradation Biodegradable Material Anaerobic Biodegradation 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joern Heerenklage
    • 1
  • Francesca Colombo
    • 2
  • Rainer Stegmann
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Waste ManagementTechnical University of Hamburg-HarburgHamburgGerman
  2. 2.Facolta di IngeneriaPolitecnico di MilanoMilanoItaly

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