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Environmental fate & pathways

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The biodegradation of ethyl acetate was assessed at a number of concentrations using a non-adapted domestic sewage innoculum in a freshwater medium. Rapid degradation was observed. Based on the results of this study, it meets the criteria to be classified as readily biodegradable.  Biodegradation was also assessed using an innoculum prepared from natural salt water and boosted with non-adapted domestic sewage innoculum in an artificial salt water medium. Degradation to a level of 60% over the 20 day experimental period was observed and degradation of 47% reached within 5 days. From this study it was concluded that this substance was readily biodegradable in artificial seawater but did not meet the 10 day window.   A well reported study established that 93.9% biodegradation of ethyl acetate occurs after 28 days in an assay described as essentially the same as the Sturm CO2 Production Test described in OECD Guidelines and suitable for volatile substances as it uses a sealed system. The study showed >90% biodegradation after 8 days indicating ready biodegradability.  Another study reported 68% biodegradation of ethyl acetate after 5 days, and 79% biodegradation after 20 days by raw wastewater using a modified BOD test.

The biodegradation of ethyl acetate has been studied in continuous flow activated sludge reactors.  Biodegradability over 6 days was evaluated by ultimate BOD analysis compared to TOC and COD values. The ultimate treatment efficiency for ethyl acetate was 99.9% removal; 93% by biodegradation and 7% stripped (volatilized) from the wastewater.  Hydraulic retention time in the reactor was 8 hours.  Degradation was also studies in a guideline simulated degradation study for which only the results are available; ethyl acetate showed 100% degradation based on a mean retention time of 3 hours in the reactor.

No biodegradation studies are available for ethyl acetate in soil but such tests are not required for readily biodegradable substances.