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Environmental fate & pathways

Biodegradation in water: screening tests

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Description of key information

The substance is readily biodegradable (according to OECD criteria).

Key value for chemical safety assessment

Biodegradation in water:
readily biodegradable

Additional information

The potential for biodegradation of DEA has been comprehensively investigated in a number of standardized and non-standardized tests. In a manometric respirometry test conducted according to OECD 301 F following GLP, DEA was determined to be readily biodegradable (according to OECD criteria) since the substance was degraded by 93 % after 28 days related to BOD. As inoculum activated sludge from a laboratory wastewater treatment plant treating domestic sewage was used (BASF AG, 1992; report no. 1/91/1168/26/2).

The following studies support the outcome of the key study as readily biodegradable:

- BASF AG (1993). Report no. 93/1316/21/1. EU method C.4 -A.

           Activated sludge, industrial; 96% after 10 d, 10-d window passed.

- BASF AG (1993). Report no. 93/1316/21/2. EU method C.4 -A.

           Activated sludge, domestic; 96% after 10 d, 10-d window passed

- BASF AG (1993). Report no. 93/1316/20/1. EU method C.4 -B.

           Pond water; 97% after 10 d, 10-d window passed.

- BASF AG (1993). Report no. 93/1316/20/2. EU method C.4 -B.

           River water; 93% after 28 d, 10-d window passed.

- BASF AG (1993). Report no. 93/1316/20/3. EU method C.4 -B.

           Soil eluate; 93% after 28 d, 10-d window passed

- Emtiazi & Knapp (1994). Die-away test. River water, 100% after 4.5 d.

In addition, the substance was testet in two marine studiys according to OECD TG 306 (Biodegradability in seawater) using natural seawater as inoculum (Eide-Haugmo et al. 2009, 2012). In 2012, biodegradation of the substance was found to be 62% after 28 d based on O2 -consumption, whereas in 2009, biodegradation was <60% after 28 days (O2 consumption).

In summary, experimental results from freshwater and saltwater biodegradation tests (ready, inherent, and one simulation test according to OECD 303A) indicate that DEA is easily eliminated from sewage treatment plants as well as from surface water and seawater. The oxidization of DEA by adapted microorganisms is probably faster compared to degradation by non-adapted bacteria from sewage.

In conclusion, DEA is readily biodegradable (according to OECD criteria).