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Toxicity to microorganisms

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Data are available on the toxicity of alkenes with a carbon range of C6 – C30 to microorganisms. Data are available from OECD 209 studies, ready biodegradation screening studies and non-standard tests. None of the studies have demonstrated toxicity to microorganisms. Therefore, the members of this category are not considered inhibitory to microorganisms.

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Warne et al (1989) used a non-standard method to test the toxicity of hex-1-ene, oct-1-ene, dec-1-ene and tetradec-1-ene to a mixed marine bacterial culture for 16 hours. Although a non-standard method was used this study does demonstrate that the EC50 for growth inhibition was not observed at 100% saturation for any compound and for C8 and higher no growth inhibition was observed at 100% saturation. This test is interpreted as demonstrating that these compounds are not toxic to microorganisms at their limit of solubility.

Miller and Watkinson (1985) investigated the toxicity of hex-1-ene to activated sewage sludge as part of a ready biodegradability screening test. The study was conducted to standard guidelines (OECD 301D) and the validity criteria of the test guideline were met. After 5 days 39% biodegradation was observed in the test vessels containing both test and reference material. Therefore, microbial respiration was not found to be significantly inhibited at the concentration tested.

Turner and Watkinson (1985) investigated the toxicity of tetradec-1 -ene to activated sewage sludge as part of a ready biodegradation screening study. Tetradec-1 -ene was not found to inhibit the biodegradation of the reference substance at a test concentration of 2mg/l. This concentration is above the water solubility of tetradec-1 -ene and is thus interpreted as demonstrating that tetradec-1 -ene is not toxic to microorganisms at its limit of solubility.

Battersby (1995) and Douglas and Halls (1993) investigated the toxicity of hexadec-1 -ene to activated sewage sludge as part of ready biodegradation screening studies. Hexadec-1 -ene was not found to inhibit the biodegradation of the reference substance at a test concentration of 2mg/l or 4mg/l respectively. These test concentrations are in excess of the water solubility of hexadec-1 -ene.

Miller and Watkinson (1985) investigated the toxicity of octadec-1 -ene to activated sewage sludge as part of ready biodegradation screening studies. Octadec-1 -ene was not found to inhibit the biodegradation of the reference substance at a test concentration of 3mg/l. This test concentration is in excess of the water solubility of octadec-1 -ene.

Miller and Watkinson (1984) investigated the toxicity of alkenes C6 - 8 to activated sewage sludge as part of a ready biodegradability screening test. The study was conducted to standard guidelines (OECD 301D) and the validity criteria of the test guideline were met. After 5 days 52% biodegradation was observed in the test vessels containing both test and reference material. Therefore, microbial respiration was not found to be significantly inhibited at the concentration tested. In the same study, the toxicity of alkenes C6 - 8 to Pseudomonas fluoresens was also investigated following a TNO guideline. This study found the IC50 to be 370 mg/L.

Turner and Watkinson (1985) investigated the toxicity of alkenes C10/11/12/13 to activated sewage sludge as part of a ready biodegradability screening test. The study was conducted to standard guidelines (OECD 301D) and the validity criteria of the test guideline were met. After 5 days >25% biodegradation was observed in the test vessels containing both test and reference material. Therefore, microbial respiration was not found to be significantly inhibited at the concentration tested. In the same study, the toxicity of alkenes C10/11/12/13 to Pseudomonas fluoresens was also investigated following a TNO guideline. This study found the EC50 to be >1000 mg/L.

Miller and Watkinson (1984) investigated the toxicity of alkenes, C10 - 14 to activated sewage sludge as part of a ready biodegradability screening test. Again, the study was conducted to standard guidelines (OECD 301D) and the validity criteria of the test guideline were met. After 5 days 64% biodegradation was observed in the test vessels containing both test and reference material. Therefore, microbial respiration was not found to be significantly inhibited at the concentration tested (2 mg/L). In the same study, the toxicity of alkenes C10 -14 to Pseudomonas fluoresens was also investigated following a TNO guideline. This study found the IC50 to be >1000 mg/l.

Battersby (1995) investigated the toxicity of C14 -16 alpha olefins to activated sewage sludge as part of a ready biodegradation screening study. C14 -16 alpha olefins was not found to inhibit the biodegradation of the reference substance at a test concentration of 2mg/l.

Battersby (1995) investigated the toxicity of alkenes C15 - 18 to activated sewage sludge as part of a ready biodegradability screening test. The study was conducted to standard guidelines (OECD 301D) and the validity criteria of the test guideline were met. After 5 days >25% biodegradation was observed in the test vessels containing both test and reference material. Therefore, microbial respiration was not found to be significantly inhibited at the concentration tested. Miller and Watkinson (1984) also investigated the toxicity of alkenes C15 - 18 as part of an OECD 301D ready biodegradability screening test. After 5 days >25% biodegradation was observed in the test vessels containing both test and reference material. Therefore, microbial respiration was not found to be significantly inhibited at the concentration tested. In addition, Miller and Watkinson (1984) report the results of a test with Pseudomonas fluorescens. The EC50 was reported as >1000 mg/l.

Douglas and Halls (1993) tested the toxicity of C20 -24 alpha olefins to microorganisms as part of a ready biodegradation screening test. The test substance was not found to be inhibitory at a test concentration of 4mg/l.

Two tests are available which investigated the inhibitory effect of alkenes C20 - 24 on activated sewage sludge. Both Mead (1998) and Clarke (2008) tested the toxicity of alkenes C20 - 24 in an OECD 209 test. No inhibition was observed at the single loading rate of 1000 mg/l in either test. Therefore the NOEC is 1000 mg/l.

Mead (2000) tested the toxicity of alkenes C24 - 30 in an OECD 301B biodegradation test. No inhibition was observed at the single loading rate of 17.1 mg/l. The test substance was not found to be inhibitory at a test concentration of 17.1mg/l.