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Environmental fate & pathways

Biodegradation in water: screening tests

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Description of key information

m-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 m-cresol.

In the aquatic phase, the biodegradability of m-cresol was tested according to OECD Guideline 301 D (Ready Biodegradability: Closed Bottle Test). Degradation was 90 % after 28 d and the 10 d window was fulfilled.

In a test according to OECD Guideline 301 C (Ready Biodegradability: Modified MITI Test (I)), 80 to 95 % of m-cresol was degraded within 40 d. m-Cresol was slightly better biodegradable than phenol and aniline supporting the conclusion that it is readily biodegradable.

m-Cresol is inherently degradable as shown in a test according to the OECD guideline 302 B where 96 % of the added m-cresol was degraded within 10 days after a lag-period of 2 days, and by a similar test, with a removal of 96 % after 5 days of incubation. m- Cresol is also anaerobically biodegradable.

As measured from methane release and carbon dioxide formation, m-cresol is mineralized under methanogenic conditions by anaerobic sludges from wastewater treatment plants. Therefore, m-cresol is considered to be "Readily and Inherently" Biodegradable.

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. m-Cresol is biodegraded in aquifer sediment under anaerobic conditions and by anoxic river sediment within 3-4 weeks.