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Environmental fate & pathways

Biodegradation in water: screening tests

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Description of key information

Trimellitic anhydride has been tested for ready biodegradability 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 CO2 evolution (Lebertz, 1991), 98.7% and 77.4% degradation occurred within 28 days at concentrations of 10 and 20 mg TMA/L, respectively and the 60% pass level was exceeded within 7 days.  Recovery of CO2 provides a direct and unambiguous indication of the mineralisation of the test substance.  
Confirmatory data (Klimisch 2) are provided by a study performed in fulfilment of the requirements of the Chemical Substances Control Law of Japan (CITI, 1988). In this study, 96% degradation of TMA dosed at 100 mg/L was recorded in 28 days by the principal indicator of mineralisation based on oxygen uptake measurements, and further measurements performed in this study indicated 99% ultimate degradation based on TOC removal (the "pass" criterion that applies here is 70%).
These results show that trimellitic anhydride (rapidly hydrolysed to trimellitic acid under test conditions) is readily biodegradable.

Key value for chemical safety assessment

Biodegradation in water:
readily biodegradable

Additional information

Trimellitic anhydride (rapidly hydrolysed to trimellitic acid under test conditions) 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 terrestrial environments. Extensive biodegradation may also be expected to occur during the aerobic phase of biological waste-water treatment processes.

Trimellitic anhydride (trimellitic acid) is not persistent (not P).