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Environmental fate & pathways

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Dialdehydes such as glyoxal are stable against hydrolysis at pH 4 -9 (WoE for Hydrolysis, 2018).

In air, glyoxal is expected to be rapidly photodegraded by OH-radicals with a half-life of 1.4 d (Plum, 1983; ECT, 2008).

Photodegradation processes in water are of low relevance (BASF, 2007).


Ready tests: Glyoxal is readily biodegradable according to OECD criteria (BASF, 1996; NITE, 2008; Gerike & Gode, 1990; BASF, 2009).

Water sediment simulation test (OECD TG 303A): The test substance was degraded by more than 80 % related to DOC. The results gave no hint on adsorption or other abiotic elimination processes; therefore the test substance can be regarded as biodegradable in this test (BASF, 1996).

Anaerobic Biodegredation: Under anaerobic test conditions, the test substance is poorly biodegradable according to OECD criteria (BASF, 2009; Project No. 40G0496/013035). Total gasified carbon was degraded by 10 - 20% after an expousure period of 62 days, measured by the biogas production.

Biodegradation in soil: The test substance was degraded by 72% related to CO2 (ISO 11622). The test substance can be regarded as biodegradable in this test (BASF SE, 2009; Project No. 18G0496/013031).


Based on a measured log Pow of -1.15 (23 °C, pH 7), the BCF was calculated to be 2.155. Significant accumulation in organisms is not to be expected.

Transport and distribution

The Koc of glyoxal was measured to be 2.1 (log Koc = 0.32) (BASF, 1996). This indicates no significant potential for adsorption to soils or sediments.

The Henry's Law Constant of glyoxal at ambient temperature (15-25 °C) is = 3.38E-04 Pa*m³*mol-1 (Betterton & Hoffmann, 1988). This indicates that the compound will not evaporate into the atmosphere.

Following the Mackay Level I calculations, glyoxal will preferentially distribute into the water (ECT, 2008).