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Environmental fate & pathways

Biodegradation in water: screening tests

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Description of key information

In a CO2-Headspace test according to ISO 14593 isobutyl acrylate was readily biodegradable (87 % (TIC/ThIC) after 28 days).

Key value for chemical safety assessment

Biodegradation in water:
readily biodegradable
Type of water:

Additional information

Experimental data on ready biodegradability are available for the target substance isobutyl acrylate as well as the source substances n-butyl acylate and tert-butyl acrylate.


isobutyl acrylate

In a valid CO2-Headspace Test according to ISO 14593 which is identical to OECD 310 (Ready Biodegradability - CO2 in sealed vessels) isobutyl acrylate was readily biodegradable. The inoculum used in this study was domestic activated sludge from a laboratory wastewater treatment plant fed with municipal sewage. The assay was conducted at a test substance concentration of 30 mg/L equivalent to 20 mg/L TOC at 22 °C in the dark. After 28 days a biodegradation degree of 90 - 100 % (TIC/ThIC) was determined (71 % degradation after 7 days, 89 % after 14 days). Based on degradation kinetic the biodegradation of the test item after 28 days is considered 87 %. The 10-day-window criterion for ready biodegradability was fulfilled (BASF AG 2001).


In addition, an abstract of  a biodegradation study with isobutyl acrylate accroding to the BOD5 Method is available but was disregarded for assessment as this information is not assignable (reliability 4)


n-butyl acrylate

In a GLP-compliant CO2-Headspace Test according to ISO 14593 (BASF AG, 2005) using activated sludge n-butyl acrylate was found to be readily biodegradable within a 10-days window and after 28 days (80-90% degradation based on CO2 evolution). All validity criteria of the guideline were fulfilled.


tert-butyl acrylate

In a valid biodegradability test according to ISO 14593 using activated sludge tert-butyl acrylate was determined to be moderately biodegradable after 28 days (50-60 % degradation based on CO2 evolution). The 10-day criterion of the guideline was not fulfilled (BASF SE, 2008).



Results from biodegradation studies on the target and the source substance n-butyl acrylate consistently indicate a high potential for ready biodegradability. Due to the steric inhibition caused by the highly branched tert-butyl moiety, tert-butyl acrylate is moderately biodegradable with a longer lag-phase. The required biodegradation degree of 60 % TIC/TOC was reached within 28 days in two out of three tests on tert-butyl acrylate indicating complete, albeit slower, mineralisation and as such can be expected to be ultimately biodegradable in the environment. The formation of persistent breakdown products is not expected. Based on results of the most relevant and reliable study (BASF AG, 2001), isobutyl acrylate is considered to be readily biodegradable according to OECD criteria.