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Biodegradation in water: screening tests

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Endpoint:
biodegradation in water: ready biodegradability
Type of information:
experimental study
Adequacy of study:
supporting study
Reliability:
2 (reliable with restrictions)
Rationale for reliability incl. deficiencies:
other: Guideline study; not GLP
Qualifier:
according to guideline
Guideline:
OECD Guideline 301 F (Ready Biodegradability: Manometric Respirometry Test)
GLP compliance:
no
Oxygen conditions:
not specified
Inoculum or test system:
other: industrial sludge (BASF); BSB/CSB
Initial conc.:
366 mg/L
Based on:
DOC
Value:
> 70
Sampling time:
8 d
Details on results:
BOD/COD value > 90 %, lag-phase: 4 d.
Validity criteria fulfilled:
not specified
Interpretation of results:
other: biodegradation observed
Conclusions:
Biodegradation of the substance trimethylamine occurs.
Executive summary:

The biodegadation of trimethylamine (CAS 75-50-3) has been investigated according to OECD Guideline 301 F (Ready biodegradability: Manometric Respirometry Test). GLP compliance is not given. As inoculum, industrial sludge has been used. The initial substance concentration was determined to be 366 mg/L DOC. After 8 days, more than 70% of degradation has occurred.

Endpoint:
biodegradation in water: ready biodegradability
Type of information:
experimental study
Adequacy of study:
key study
Reliability:
2 (reliable with restrictions)
Rationale for reliability incl. deficiencies:
other: Guideline study, not GLP
Qualifier:
according to guideline
Guideline:
OECD Guideline 301 C (Ready Biodegradability: Modified MITI Test (I))
GLP compliance:
no
Oxygen conditions:
aerobic
Inoculum or test system:
activated sludge (adaptation not specified)
Details on inoculum:
concentration of sludge: 30 mg/L
Duration of test (contact time):
14 d
Initial conc.:
100 mg/L
Based on:
test mat.
Parameter followed for biodegradation estimation:
O2 consumption
Reference substance:
aniline
Parameter:
% degradation (O2 consumption)
Value:
92
Sampling time:
14 d
Details on results:
Degree of biodegradation: 92% (NH3) by BOD; 66% (NO2) by BOD
Results with reference substance:
no data given.
Validity criteria fulfilled:
yes
Interpretation of results:
readily biodegradable
Conclusions:
The test substance is readily biodegradable.
Executive summary:

The biodegradation of trimethylamine (CAS 75-50-3) was investigated according to OECD Guideline 301C (Ready Biodegradability: Modified MITI Test (I)). GLP compliance is not given. Under aerobic test conditions, the activated sludge (30 mg/L) was exposed to the test substance (100 mg/L) for 14 days. 92 % degradation has occurred within 14 days, based on O2 consumption. As reference substance, aniline has been used.

Description of key information

The read across substance trimethylamine can be regarded as readily biodegradable according to OECD criteria.

Accordingly, Trimethylammonium Chloride is expected to be also readly biodegradable.

This is supported by the results of a supporting study available for Trimethylammonium Chloride.

Ayanaba and Alexander conducted several experiments in 1974. Added trimethylamine (as the hydrochloride) is converted to dimethylamine in samples of raw sewage and lake water, and the secondary amine thus formed or added dimethylamine disappears with time (Ayanaba and Alexander, 1974). The rates of formation and disappearance of dimethylamine are governed by the pH and the type and amount of inorganic N present. Ammonium is generated from both of the amines. Dimethylnitrosamine, a potent carcinogen, is formed in small amounts in samples of sewage and lake water receiving dimethylamine and nitrite, the maximum nitrosamine level detected rising with increasing acidity and increasing dimethylamine and nitrite concentrations. Dimethylnitrosamine also appears in sewage and lake water samples receiving trimethylamine. Microorganisms are involved in some stage of the conversion of the tertiary amine to the secondary amine and dimethylnitrosamine in sewage because these products are not found in sterilized sewage. The fungicide thiram (tetramethylthiuram disulfide) is converted to dimethylamine in sterilized sewage at pH 4.0, and small amounts of dimethylnitrosamine are also produced in the presence of nitrite; the yields of both products are far greater in nonsterile, thiram-amended sewage. The identification of dimethylnitrosamine was verified by thin-layer and gas chromatography, ultraviolet and infrared spectrometry, and combined gas chromatrophy-mass spectrometry.

Key value for chemical safety assessment

Biodegradation in water:
readily biodegradable

Additional information

Two independent ready biodegradablility tests according to OECD criteria were performed with the read across substance trimethylamine and in both cases trimethylamine was found to be degradable. A test (Key study 1, 1992) was conducted according to OECD guideline 301C, whereby 92 % of test substance was degraded after 14 days. This result is based on the O2 consumption by activated sludge. Industrial sludge was tested (Key study 2, 1980) in an experiment according to OECD guideline 301F. More than 70 % degradation of test substance has had occured after 8 days.

In addition, a test (Supporting study 1, 1974) revealed that trimethylammonium chloride was converted to dimethylamine in samples of raw sewage and lake water, and the secondary amine thus formed or added dimethylamine disappears with time. The following has been shown to be formed: Ammonium, Dimethylnitrosamine (in small amounts).

Trimethylamine and Trimethylammonium chloride belong to the group of tertiary aliphatic amines with a sp³-hybridized nitrogen with three methyl groups  (common structure / functional group). The solvation of both Trimethylamine and Trimethylammonium chloride in water results in solutions of the Trimethylammonium cation (common "breakdown product"). Both respective counterions are naturally and ubiquitous occurring ions and are also to a certain extent required for the maintenance of various body functions. Besides the influence on the pH value of an aqueous solution (OH-), they do not bear a relevant intrinsic property, allowing one in general to focus on the Trimethylammonium cation. Biodegradation of the respective counterion is not applicable (Cl-, OH-) in the aqueous environment, so only the trimethylammonium cation undergoes biodegradation. It is believed to be metabolised by the same mechanisms by microorganisms and by other classes of living organisms. Therefore they are expected to follow the same pattern of biodegradation. For the detailed procedure of the read-across principle and justifications, please refer to the analogue approach justification depicted below and the separate Read-Across Statement (Chemservice S.A., 2015).