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Environmental fate & pathways

Biodegradation in water and sediment: simulation tests

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Description of key information

N-methyl-2-pyrrolidone (NMP) was rapidly degraded in river surface water and proved to be generally degradable in different further types of surface water (wetlands, spring).

In addition, due to the results of the different screening tests performed, the substance is supposed to be readily biodegradable (according to OECD criteria) and, therefore, not persistent in the environment.

Key value for chemical safety assessment

Additional information

The aerobic microbial degradability of N-methyl-2-pyrrolidone (NMP, CAS 872-50-4) was investigated in three types of surface water (river, wetlands and spring) according to procedures previously described by Křížek et al. (2015). Samples of river water, wetlands water and spring water containing a defined amount of N-methyl-2-pyrrolidone (NMP) were incubated and the degradation process was monitored by daily DOC-measurements. The fastest NMP removal occurred in river water (ca. 93% in 4 d; DT50 = ca. 1 d) while in the wetland and spring samples the degradation process required several months to complete. Identification of NMP-utilizing isolated microorganisms proved that pseudomonads played a major role in NMP degradation in river water, while the genera Rhodococcus and Patulibacter fulfilled a similar task in the wetland sample. Regarding spring water, degrading members of the Mesorhizobium and Rhizobium genera were found.


The study results show, that N-methyl-2-pyrrolidone (NMP) is degradable in different types of surface water, including that with relatively low culturable heterotrophic counts (e.g. spring water). The substance was rapidly degraded in river surface water. However, degradation can be a relatively slow process in certain water types, depending on the amount and type of NMP-degrading bacteria.