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Environmental fate & pathways

Biodegradation in water: screening tests

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Description of key information

A MITII 301C test (year 2013), conducted according to GLP, Klimisch 1, resulted in 86% degradation of the test substance after 28-days demonstrating that dimethyl carbonate was readily biodegradable.

Key value for chemical safety assessment

Biodegradation in water:
readily biodegradable

Additional information

Three existing studies performed to assess the ready biodegradability of dimethyl carbonate, according to OECD301F (GLP study, Enichem S.p.A., Centro Richerche Novara, 2001), OECD 301D (GLP study, RBM Instituto di Ricerche Biomediche, 1992) and OECD 301C (non-GLP study, Enichem S.p.A., Ravenna Plant, 1997), were reviewed. 

The most robust, reliable design of study reviewed was OECD 301F, which, however, indicated that the material should be considered not readily degradable as the substance failed to reach 60% of the theoretical level in the 28-day test. Similarly the degree of biodegradation in the OECD 301D study was only 46.3% after 28 days.

The MITI I/ OECD301C evaluation of Allessandri, 1997 did show that the substance reached > 60% of the theoretical level by Day 28. However this was a non-GLP study with limited information provided and hence classified as Klimisch grade 3.  The MITII/ OECD301C test differs from others in using nine innoculum sources. It is therefore possible that it was this difference that provided conditions that allowed dimethyl carbonate to undergo almost complete degradation after 28 days. A second MITII/ OECD301C was therefore conducted (Klimisch grade 1). Biodegradation after 28 days was 86% confirming the previous result that the test substance was readily biodegradable.