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Environmental fate & pathways

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The ready biodegradability of adipic acid was determined in a test conducted according to OECD TG 301 D (Ready biodegradability: Modified OECD Screening Test) showing 83 % degradation after 30 days (Gerike, 1979). This result is supported by

a test conducted according to OECD Guideline 301 C (Ready Biodegradability: Modified MITI Test (I)). After 14 days, more than 90% of adipic acid was degraded (MITI, 2002).

Based on these results adipic acid is considered to be "Readily Biodegradable".

The inherent biodegradability of adipic acid was assessed according to the EU Method C.9 (Biodegradation: Zahn-Wellens Test), showing more than 90% degradation after 5 days (Zahn, 1980). In a waste water treatment simulation test (OECD TG 303 A "Simulation Test - Aerobic Sewage Treatment. A: Activated Sludge Units) a DOC removal for adipic acid of 99 % in 1 day was achieved. (Gerike, 1979). Based on these results the subtsance is considered to be inherently biodegradable.

In a modified Zahn-Wellens-Test, using surface water from the river Main (Germany), 90% of adipic acid was degraded within 8 days (Zahn, 1980) indicating that the substance is biodegradable in surface waters.

The potential for biodegradation in soil of adipic acid is decribed, by a test conducted according to a national standard method of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). An 84 % conversion of adipic acid carbon content to carbon dioxide was found after 30 days aerobic incubation in soil (Sharabi,1993). 60 % degradation was reached in 1 to 6 d. Adipic acid is therefore considered to be readily biodegradable in soil.