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Environmental fate & pathways

Biodegradation in water: screening tests

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Description of key information

2,2',2''-nitrilotriethanol is rapidly biodegradable in freshwater systems based on studies performed by West (1996) and Gerike (1978).

Key value for chemical safety assessment

Biodegradation in water:
readily biodegradable

Additional information

As key study regarding the biodegradation of 2,2',2''-nitrilotriethanol, a test performed by West et al. (1996) is identified. In a test with activated sludge biodegradation half-lifes between 0.01 and 0.51 days and mineralization half-lifes between 0.24 and 0.67 days were found, depending on the initial concentration of the test substance (164 and 818 mg/L) and the concentration of the activated sludge (0.6 and 5.7 mg/L MLSS).

These results indicate, that 2,2’,2’’-nitrilotriethanol is readily biodegradable. A ready test performed by Gerike (1978) according to a precursor of the Modified OECD Screeening Test (OECD TG 301 E) using non-adapted effluent from a waste water treatment plant as inoculum supports these results.

While the substance is readily biodegradable in freshwater systems, it is not readily biodegradable in seawater as concluded from an OECD 306 test published by Eide-Haugmo et al. (2009/2012) and Brakstad et al. (2012). TEA is not readily biodegradable in marine systems (19.6% ThBOD).