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Environmental fate & pathways

Biodegradation in water: screening tests

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Description of key information

The biodegradability of Farnesene in water has been assessed in three screening studies. All three studies were designed to comply with the standards set forth in OECD Guidelines for the testing of Chemicals, OECD Guideline 301 B (Ready Biodegradability: CO2 Evolution Test). 
In the key study (BMG 2011a), farnesene did not meet the criteria to be considered as readily biodegradable, It did however achieve 60% biodegradation within 28 days, showing a clear potential to degrade in the environment.
In two supporting OECD 301B studies, the level of biodegradability seen at 28 days was 39% and 54%, supporting the conclusion that farnesene has the potential to degrade in the environment.

Key value for chemical safety assessment

Biodegradation in water:
inherently biodegradable, not fulfilling specific criteria

Additional information

The biodegradability of farnesene in water has been investigated in three screening studies (OECD 301B). In the key study (BMG 2011a) farnesene (FnM3132) was exposed to microorganisms derived from the activated sludge of a municipal sewage treatment plant under aerobic static exposure conditions. The biodegradability - based on CO2 evolution - of FnM3132 was calculated to be 61% of the theoretical value (ThCO2) after an incubation time of 28 days, achieving 53% at the end of the 10-d window. Significant biodegradation of the test substance was observed after a lag phase of about 3 days.The positive control, sodium benzoate, reached 91% biodegradation after 14 days, thus confirming suitability of inoculum and test conditions.

Farnesene did not reach the pass level of 60% for ready biodegradability in the CO2 Evolution Test within the 10-d window and, therefore, cannot be termed as readily biodegradable. However, the test substance achieved more than 60% degradation after 28 days, showing a clear potential for degradation in the environment.

Farnesene also showed clear potential for degradation in the environment in two supporting studies (Edward 2001, BMG 2011b). In these two studies, farnesene did not meet the criteria (60% biodegradation) to be described as readily biodegradable, achieving 39 and 54% respectively by 28 days. Nevertheless the level of degradation was sufficient to show potential for degradation in an aqueous environment.