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Environmental fate & pathways

Biodegradation in water: screening tests

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Description of key information

Tartaric acid and its salts are readily biodegradable in water.

Key value for chemical safety assessment

Biodegradation in water:
readily biodegradable

Additional information

Several studies are available in the scientific literature which investigated the biodegradation in water of the tartaric acid by means of different methods, whereas only one study is available for disodium tartrate and one for calcium tartrate.

All results support the ready biodegradability of these substances, except for the study performed by Sharma et al which reports a BOD5/COD ratio just under 0,5 (which is the cut-off value between ready biodegradability and non-ready biodegradability in accordance with CLP Regulation) for the tartaric acid. On the whole, it is believed that this lower value may be due to experimental variability.

Overall, it is considered that the biodegradability of tartaric acid is the same of that ones of its salts (i.e. monosodium, monopotassium, sodium potassium, sodium, potassium and calcium tartrate) and, therefore, the assessment of this endpoint may be jointly performed using all available data for these substances. Therefore, also the tartaric acid salts are deemed to be readily biodegradable.