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Environmental fate & pathways

Biodegradation in soil

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Description of key information

A half-life of 101.6 days in soil is used in the assessment.

Key value for chemical safety assessment

Half-life in soil:
101.6 d

Additional information

Several studies are available for degradation of MTBE in soil. The results are conflicting. In a study in which soil was polluted with gasoline containing MTBE it was shown that aerobic biodegradation was observed after the spill (Yuan, 2006). This behaviour of MTBE was also observed by Borden et al. (1997). However, other studies concluded that rapid and reliable biodegradation of MTBE in soil cannot be assumed under any normal environmental conditions (both aerobic and anaerobic), indicating very slow degradation in soil (Yeh and Novak, 1994; Allard et al., 1996; Reisinger et al., 2000). As the study by Yuan was better in design and reporting than the other studies mentioned, the half-life of 101.6 days from Yuan (2006) is used in the assessment.