ISO 20136:2017 specifies a test method to determine the degree and rate of aerobic biodegradation of hides and skins of different animal origin, whether they are tanned or not, through the indirect determination of CO2 produced by the degradation of collagen.
The test material is exposed to an inoculum (activated sludge from tannery wastewater) in an aqueous medium.
The conditions established in this document correspond to optimum laboratory conditions to achieve the maximum level of biodegradation. However, they may not necessarily correspond to the optimum conditions or maximum level of biodegradation in the natural medium.
In general, the experimental procedure covers the determination of the degradation degree and rate of the material under controlled conditions, which allows the analysis of the evolved carbon dioxide produced throughout the test. For this purpose, the testing equipment complies with strict requirements with regard to flow, temperature and agitation control.
This method applies to the following materials:
- natural polymers of animal stroma (animal tissue/skins),
- animal hides and skins tanned (leather) using organic or inorganic tanning agents,
- leathers that, under testing conditions, do not inhibit the activity of microorganisms present in the inoculum.