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Environmental fate & pathways

Biodegradation in water: screening tests

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Description of key information

Dimethyl terephthalate has been tested for ready biodegradbility by two respirometric methods where the degradation "pass" level that conventionally represents complete mineralisation is 60%.  In a GLP-compliant (Klimisch 1) study based on O2 uptake (Anonymous, 1993a), 83.8% degradation occurred within 14 days at a concentration of ca. 11 mg DMT/L and the 60% pass level was exceeded within the 10-day window.  

Confirmatory data (Klimisch 2) are provided by a study performed in fulfilment of the requirements of the Chemical Substances Control Law of Japan (CITI, 1980). In this study, 84% degradation of DMT dosed at 100 mg/L was recorded in 14 days by the principal indicator of mineralisation based on oxygen uptake measurements. HPLC analyses showed 100% loss of the parent substance during the 14-d incubation.
These results show that dimethyl terephthalate is readily biodegradable.

Key value for chemical safety assessment

Biodegradation in water:
readily biodegradable

Additional information

Dimethyl terephthalate is readily biodegradable and may therefore be expected to undergo rapid and complete mineralisation (transformation to terminal oxidation products without forming stable metabolites) in aerobic compartments of aquatic and terrrestrial environments. Extensive biodegradation may also be expected to occur during the aerobic phase of biological waste-water treatment processes.

Dimethyl terephthalate is not persistent (not P).