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Materials 2009, 2(1), 181-206; doi:10.3390/ma2010181

Anaerobic Biodegradation of Detergent Surfactants

*  and
Fraunhofer Institute for Environmental, Safety and Energy Technology UMSICHT, Osterfelder Str. 3, 46047 Oberhausen, Germany
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 4 February 2009 / Revised: 5 March 2009 / Accepted: 12 March 2009 / Published: 16 March 2009
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodegradability of Materials)
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Detergent surfactantscan be found in wastewater in relevant concentrations. Most of them are known as ready degradable under aerobic conditions, as required by European legislation. Far fewer surfactants have been tested so far for biodegradability under anaerobic conditions. The natural environment is predominantly aerobic, but there are some environmental compartments such as river sediments, sub-surface soil layer and anaerobic sludge digesters of wastewater treatment plants which have strictly anaerobic conditions. This review gives an overview on anaerobic biodegradation processes, the methods for testing anaerobic biodegradability, and the anaerobic biodegradability of different detergent surfactant types (anionic, nonionic, cationic, amphoteric surfactants).
Keywords: Detergent surfactant; anaerobic biodegradation; test systems Detergent surfactant; anaerobic biodegradation; test systems
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY) which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Merrettig-Bruns, U.; Jelen, E. Anaerobic Biodegradation of Detergent Surfactants. Materials 2009, 2, 181-206.

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