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Environmental fate & pathways

Biodegradation in water: screening tests

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Description of key information

p-Cresol is readily biodegradable under aerobic conditions in freshwater. It is inherently biodegradable, and anaerobically biodegradable.

Key value for chemical safety assessment

Biodegradation in water:
readily biodegradable

Additional information

Serveral experiments on biodegradability are available for p-cresol.

In tests according to OECD Guideline 301 C (Ready Biodegradability: Modified MITI Test (I)), 80 to 95 % of p-cresol were degraded within 40 d.

Biodegradation of p-cresol was also tested in seawater where it was biodegradable as well.

The inherent degradability of p-cresol was studied in two different tests. Using an adapted activated sludge, p-cresol degraded to 96 % within 5 days and 100% after within 10 days.

p-Cresol is also anaerobically biodegradable. As measured from methane release and carbon dioxide formation, and m- and p-cresol are mineralized under methanogenic conditions by anaerobic sludges from wastewater treatment plants.

Although the substance is readily biodegradable and no biodegradation simulation test has to be performed for sediments, there are studies available on biodegradation in sediments. p-Cresol is biodegraded in aquifer sediment under anaerobic conditions and by anoxic river sediment within 3-4 weeks.