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Environmental fate & pathways

Biodegradation in water: screening tests

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Description of key information

Only one study is available that was carried out in accordance with the respective testing guidelines. This study found that chloroform is not readily biodegradable (MITI 1992). This finding is supported by the results of most other tests on the ready biodegradability except one study claiming the potential for biodegradability of chloroform in water under aerobic conditions. For the risk assessment no biodegradability of chloroform is taken into account.

Key value for chemical safety assessment

Biodegradation in water:
under test conditions no biodegradation observed

Additional information

The guideline-compliant study performed by MITI (1992) indicated no ready biodegradability of chloroform in water with aerobic conditions, either based on the biochemical oxygen demand or on measurement of the substance by gas chromatography. Also the study carried out by Bouwer et al. (1981) did not find ready biodegradability of chloroform under aerobic conditions. In contrast, Tabak et al. (1981) claimed that they observed a significant loss of chloroform in their biodegradation assay using static cultures inoculated with settled domestic wastewater and incubated at 25 °C for seven days. This study had, however, methodological flaws and it could not be demonstrated that the apparatus was appropriate to avoid losses of chloroform by evaporation.

In conclusion, it can be derived from the available data that chloroform is not readily biodegradable in water under aerobic conditions.