Our Unique Science

Learn more about BioSphere’s proprietary process.

how biosphere works

How BioSphere Works

We have developed our additive to degrade plastic far beyond its surface level. To accomplish this, our additive allows microbes to consume the C-C bonds within plastic’s structure at a macromolecular level, increasing the surface area of plastic products and enabling plastophilic microbes to attach to the polymer’s newfound cavities.

So, unlike regular plastic that can sit in a landfill for hundreds or thousands of years, plastic enhanced with BioSphere additives attracts over 600 different types of microbes that effectively digest and consume it.

how biosphere works

The environmental benefits of BioSphere plastic additives don’t stop at reducing waste.

  • As biodegradable plastics and other items decompose inside a landfill, they create gas that can be collected via wells.
  • The gas is then filtered and pressurized until it can be used as fuel, and piped to a plant where it powers generators.
  • Electricity produced by these generators is sent to a utility grid, which provides energy to nearby communities.

When utilized to its full capacity, BioSphere creates a perfect circle of renewable energy, reducing fossil fuels and lowering emissions.

The BioSphere Biodegradation Process

Hydrolysis, acidogenesis, acetogenesis, and methanogenesis play key roles in BioSphere’s biodegradation process. Here’s how it all works.
how biosphere works


In hydrolysis, the first step of the biodegradation process, water is added to break the covalent bond between the monomers that form polymers. In condensation, water is removed to bond monomers together. Because it takes energy to bond monomers into polymers, condensation reactions store energy, whereas hydrolysis releases it. Typically, reactions take this form: R1 – R2 + H2O ←→ R1 – O + R2 – H+


Acidogenesis is the next step of anaerobic digestion, during which fermentative bacteria produce an acidic environment while creating ammonia, H2, CO2, H2S, shorter volatile fatty acids, carbonic acids, and alcohols, as well as trace amounts of other byproducts. While acidogenic bacteria consume organic matter, the resulting biomass is still too large and unusable for the ultimate goal of methane production.


Acetogenesis is the creation of acetate, a derivative of acetic acid from carbon and energy sources created by acetogens. These microorganisms catabolize many of the products created in acidogenesis into acetic acid, CO2 and H2. Acetogens break down the biomass to the point that methanogens can step in.


Methanogenesis is the final stage of anaerobic digestion in which methanogens use acetic acid and carbon dioxide—the main byproducts of the first three steps of anaerobic biodegradation—to create methane. This reaction can look like CO2 + 4 H2 → CH4 + 2H2O or CH3COOH → CH4 + CO2, but the primary methane pathway involves acetic acid.

Our Additives

BioSphere biodegradable additives come in a variety of different forms including pellet, liquid, and powder versions for use in different polymer types.


  • When a product containing BioSphere additive is disposed of in an active microbial environment, it has the ability to attract over 600 different types of microbes found in both aerobic and anaerobic environments.  These microbes colonize, form a  biofilm around the product and begin to secrete enzymes.  When these enzymes make contact with the additive, a catalyst is formed that assists in breaking down the complex polymer chains.  This process enables the product to completely return to nature, leaving behind only small amounts of biomass and water.

    When a product biodegrades rapidly, with the help of BioSphere Additive,  the majority of the mass is released in the form of gasses that now have the potential to be converted into natural and renewable energy.

  • A polymer product must be disposed of in an active microbial environment to trigger biodegradation. Some examples include landfills, marine environments, agricultural rich soil, etc. Products made with BioSphere additives will not begin to decompose on a warehouse shelf, or in the hands of the consumer.  The introduction of an active microbial environment is required.

  • No.  The definition of a microplastic is a plastic particle smaller than 5 mm that is not biodegradable.

    When products made with BioSphere additive biodegrade, the majority of the mass of the product is released in the form of gasses, leaving behind only small amounts of biomass and water.  The entire product returns to nature.  BioSphere additive does not contribute to microplastics.

    Microplastics are created when products containing technologies, such as oxo-degradable technologies, utilize heat, light, and mechanical stress to fragment and break down plastic.  This is an abiotic process (physical rather than biological breakdown).  This can lead to the contribution of microplastics.

    Our additive attracts microbes and enhances their ability to consume the polymer creating true biodegradation exclusively through a biotic process (biological rather than physical breakdown), and does not contribute to microplastics.

  • BioSphere additive will work in virtually any polymer type. We have pellet, liquid, and powder formulations commercially available.

  • We have pellet, liquid, and powder formulations commercially available.

  • We recommend using our additive within 1 year of receiving the product or 2 years from the date of manufacturing. Once it has been added to the final product, the shelf life is virtually unlimited.

  • We recommend adding 1% by weight of the final product. Some customers do choose to add a bit more, 1.5 or 2% in some cases, to further speed up biodegradation.


    Multilayered products: 1% additive should be added in each layer.

    Thicker products: Consult BioSphere representatives to discuss possibly adding >1% additive.

  • We do not recommend using oxidizing agents or antimicrobial additives with BioSphere additive, as these will work against the additive.

  • BioSphere additive is slightly hygroscopic. It is recommended to keep the additive sealed when not in use. Drying is not required for 201 pellets in most applications.

    For PET applications, drying is recommended when using 202 and 203, and in some cases when using 201 pellets in PET fiber and filament applications drying may be needed for optimal results.  See separate Drying Instructions document for guidance.

  • Yes, BioSphere additives are food safe, and FDA Compliant.  They are considered Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) by the FDA. We validate food safety by way of our self-declared GRAS letter and we further support FDA compliance with our third party food and migration testing results.

  • Yes.  BioSphere additive is safe for the recycling stream and the use of the additive does not change the recycling designation of the final product.

  • Most countries require third party biodegradation testing to support biodegradable claims.  BioSphere Plastic encourages all of our customers to perform testing on their final product.  Most of our customers opt to make claims (supported by third party testing) based on landfill conditions, as this is likely where the product is going to be disposed of.  The ASTM D5511 (ISO 15985) is most commonly performed.  This method simulates an accelerated or optimized anaerobic landfill environment.  Based on our experience, most products using BioSphere additive can see a completed biodegradation cycle in 2-3 years time, with some completed a bit sooner, while others may take longer.

  • The polymer type, thickness, and molecular weight, all impact biodegradation. The use of fillers will as well.   

  • BioSphere additive is not designed to meet Industrial Compostable standards with a 1% load rate (90% biodegradation in 180 days). Instead, we focus our attention on enhancing biodegradation when disposed of in the most common disposal methods, such as landfill biodegradation.  However, biodegradation is not limited to landfill.  Our additive will also attract and assist microbes to biodegrade polymer in other active microbial environments such as agricultural rich soil, and marine environments.

  • No. Oxo-degradable technologies use light, heat, and mechanical stress to fragment the product into pieces which can contribute to microplastics. Unlike oxo-degradable technology, BioSphere additive is unaffected by heat, light and mechanical stress and does not contribute to the microplastics problem. BioSphere additive will begin the biodegradation process when disposed of in an active aerobic or anaerobic environment (i.e. landfill, soil, marine environment). Active meaning microbes are present and consuming materials. BioSphere additive requires the presence of microbes to consume the polymer.

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Whether ready-made or custom, we can provide the perfect biodegradable solution.