Biodegradation of Items – Center of Microbial Oceanography

DTS Another Planet Daniel Farò

The Center for Microbial Oceanography: C-More published a document which describes the time frame of biodegradation of items used by consumers. Items such as newspapers and paper towels and the biodegradation time frame in marine environments.

Paper towel 2-4 weeks
Newspaper 6 weeks
Cardboard box 2 months
Waxed milk carton 3 months
Apple core 2 months
Cotton gloves 1-5 months
Wool gloves 1 year
Plywood 1-3 years
Painted wooden sticks 13 years
Photo-degradable beverage holder 6 months
Plastic beverage holder 400 years
Plastic bags 10-20 years
Plastic bottle 100 years
Glass bottle and jars undetermined
Disposable diapers 50-100 years
Tin can 50 years
Aluminium can 200 years
Monofilament fishing line 600 years


According to the Center for Microbial Oceanography there are millions of microorganisms with diverse metabolic pathways found in the Ocean. The microbes that are found in the ocean are isolated and investigated for their metabolic pathways.

The Center is studying the interconnected life of the Ocean, focusing on the bacteria and viruses found in the Ocean. The Center has proven that bacteria and viruses in the ocean are not villains. They have proven that half of the oxygen we breathe comes from the microbes in the ocean from converting Co2 into oxygen. This is important to our ecosystem and to our existence on planet Earth.

The C-More facility located in Hawai’i is one of the most advanced facilities in the world studying microbial interaction in the Oceans. This provided BioSphere a good understanding of marine biodegradation and the microorganisms that allow for plastic to be consumed in the marine environment. C-More has provided deep insight to the understanding of biodegradation of items when thrown into the Ocean. This information has allowed BioSphere to advance their technical understanding of the Ocean and the microbes that help us breathe.

For more information regarding C-More and their operation please visit:


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