The capability of organic matter to be decomposed by biological processes.

Both the rate and the completeness of decomposition are factors in biodegradability .  In the context of detergents, biodegradation refers to decomposition of the organic ingredients in the formulation by bacteria present in waste treatment systems, surface waters, or in the soil.  Since surfactants constitute the largest quantity of organic materials in detergent products, their biodegradation is of greatest interest.  The surfactants in today's household detergents are readily biodegradable as is soap .