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Diss Factsheets

Environmental fate & pathways

Biodegradation in water: screening tests

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Description of key information

Freshwater ready biodegradation studies:
69% (20d, DOC)
94% (28d, CO2)
79% (20d, BOD)

Key value for chemical safety assessment

Biodegradation in water:
readily biodegradable

Additional information

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.

The ready biodegradability of ethyl acetate is supported by other studies.  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.