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Please be aware that this old REACH registration data factsheet is no longer maintained; it remains frozen as of 19th May 2023.

The new ECHA CHEM database has been released by ECHA, and it now contains all REACH registration data. There are more details on the transition of ECHA's published data to ECHA CHEM here.

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Environmental fate & pathways

Biodegradation in water: screening tests

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Description of key information

Biodegradation: readily biodegradable

Key value for chemical safety assessment

Biodegradation in water:
readily biodegradable

Additional information

Malic acid is readily biodegradable, as determined by the outcome of a Modified MITI Test conducted according to OECD TG 301 C on dl-malic acid. It is noted that,in a revision of the practices regarding stereochemical practices, racemic mixtures of substances having single chiral centers are now indexed, registered, and named as non-stereospecific substances with the racemate distinction being discontinued. Thus, DL-malic acid and malic acid (stereospecificity unspecified) now receive the same CAS Registry Number and CA index name: 6915-15-7, Butanedioic acid, hydroxy-. Experimental findings are supported by Q(S)AR assessment.

In addition, fumaric acid is readily biodegradable. Read across from fumaric acid to malic is considered valid as the metabolic route for fumaric acid is through malic acid. Therefore, to achieve biodegradation in excess of 60% implies that malic acid is also readily biodegradable.  Fumaric acid is less water soluble and also requires one further metabolic step than malic acid; it is likely that malic acid biodegrades faster, evidenced by the experimental findings.