biodegradation
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GC: n

S: SD – http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0304415700000137 (last access: 18 June 2015); EncBrit – http://global.britannica.com/topic/biodegradation (last access: 18 June 2015).

N: 1. From the prefix “bio” (word-forming element, from Greek bio-, comb. form of bios “one’s life, course or way of living, lifetime”) and the noun “degradation” (1530s, from French dégradation -14c., Old French degradacion-, from Medieval Latin degradationem -nominative degradatio-, noun of action from past participle stem of degradare).
2. The destruction of organic compounds by microorganisms. Microorganisms, particularly bacteria, are responsible for the decomposition of both natural and synthetic organic compounds in nature. Mineralization of any compound is never 100% because some of it (10–40% of the total amount degraded) is incorporated into the cell mass or products that become part of the amorphous soil organic matter, commonly referred to as humus. Thus, biodegradation comprises mineralization and conversion to innocuous products, namely biomass and humus. Primary biodegradation is more limited in scope and refers to the disappearance of the compound as a result of its biotransformation to another product.
3. The biochemical process of decay or decomposition (i.e., of the breakdown of complex, large organic molecules into small, simple molecules) of either natural or synthetic organic materials, by living organisms (fungi, bacteria or by secretions and chemicals involving these bacteria) populating soils, bodies of water, or wastewater treatment facilities.
4. Often restricted to the breakdown of wastes released into the environment, especially in an aqueous medium, and regarded as a desirable process in contrast to biodeterioration.
5. biological breakdown; biological decomposition; biological decay: These terms are explanatory expressions describing the phenomenon of biodegradation, and not true synonyms of “biodegradation”, but they can still be used if the context permits it.
6. biodegradation: term standardized by ISO.

S: 1. OED – http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?allowed_in_frame=0&search=bio; http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?allowed_in_frame=0&search=degradation (last access: 9 December 2016). 2. AS – http://www.accessscience.com/content/biodegradation/422025 (last access: 25 November 2013). 3 to 6. TERMIUM PLUS – https://bit.ly/35LbkGv (last access: 25 November 2013).

SYN: 1. biological degradation. 2. biological degradation, biological breakdown, biological decomposition (see note 4), biological decay (see note 4), biological deterioration (less frequent), degradation.

S: 1. IATE (last access: 25 November 2013). 2. TERMIUM PLUS – https://bit.ly/35LbkGv (last access: 25 November 2013).

CR: antifungal, bacterium, fungus.