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Environmental fate & pathways

Biodegradation in water: screening tests

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Link to relevant study record(s)

Description of key information

Biodegradation in water: screening tests: Readily Biodegradable: 94.5% and 98.7 % biodegradation (DOC removal) after 4 and 11 days, respectively. The 10-days window was met (OECD TG 301 A: Ready Biodegradability: DOC Die Away Test) - (EU Method C.4-A: Determination of the "Ready" Biodegradability - DOC Die-Away Test).

Key value for chemical safety assessment

Biodegradation in water:
readily biodegradable

Additional information

One key study (VOELSKOW H., 1996) is available for this endpoint. This study has been performed in accordance with the OECD Guideline (Ready Biodegradability: DOC Die Away Test) and the EU Directive 92/69/EEC C.4-A (Determination of the "Ready" Biodegradability - DOC Die-Away Test) and in compliance with the Good Laboratory Practice standards. The study showed a level of biodegradation of 94.4 and 98.7 % (DOC removal) after 4 and 11 days, respectively. The 10 -d window was met. Based on these results, Heptanoic acid is considered as readily biodegradable. Among the 3 validity criteria (OECD TG 301D), one was fulfilled and the others could not have been checked due to lack of raw data. Consequently, the study is considered as reliable with restrictions.


A second study is available (DIAS F.F. & ALEXANDER M., 1971) focusing on the determination of the Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD). The BOD determination alone cannot be considered as a valid determination of the biodegradability of a substance. However, using a calculated Theoretical Oxygen Demand, a percentage of biodegradation can be deduced from the measured BOD. Applying this approach, Heptanoic acid reached 44, 61, 54 and 58% of its theoretical BOD after 2, 5, 10 and 30 days, respectively, showing a potential of biodegradation. Therefore, this study is considered as supporting the results of the key study.