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EC number: 272-702-7
CAS number: 68909-34-2
aerobic conditions, acetate is readily broken down to carbon dioxide and
water. It is thus used as
a reference compound in OECD guideline 301 (1992) on "Ready
Biodegradability" in the form of sodium acetate to check the protocol.
Acetate reliably meets the criterium of ready biodegradability (i.e. 70%
removal of DOC and 60% of ThOD or ThCO2 production for respirometric
methods within a 10-d window within the 28-d period of the test) even
when an inoculum is not deliberately added.
key study of Zahn and Wellens (1980), conducted according to Zahn and
Wellens (1974; later on adopted as “Zahn-Wellens-Test” in OECD guideline
302 B “inherent biodegradability”), investigated the biodegradation of
acetic acid using 1 g dry weight COD/L of a non-adapted, activated
sludge from an organic plant of the company Hoechst, Frankfurt, Germany.
After 3 days (including an adaption time of 1 day), acetic acid was
degraded by > 90 % with a post-adaption degradation time of 40 %
COD/day. The test was valid and sensitive (> 70 % (i.e. 100 %)
degradation of diethylene glycol in 14 days, gradual COD and DOC
removal, biocidal effects refuted by short adaption time) and confirms
that acetic acid is ready biodegradable.
supporting study of Billen et al. 1980, determined turn-over rates
(utilization rates) of acetate by natural microbial populations in
estuarine, coastal and seawater after addition of 14C-acetate as a
substrate and an adjacent sample incubation at in situ temperature for 4
hours. The results were used to extrapolate mean DT50 values of 0.3, 9.8
and 46 days for estuarine, coastal and seawater, respectively. The
results suggest that acetate is ready biodegradable in estuarine and
coastal water and that biodegradation is slower in open marine water.
However, considering that the data were extrapolated from a 4-h
laboratory experiment, the conclusions should not be over-interpreted.
key study of Zahn and Wellens (1980) used a method representing a
preceding version of the “Zahn-Wellens-Test” in OECD Guideline 302 B
“inherent biodegradability”. Therefore, despite its scarce information,
the present paper is considered “reliable 2”. According to the most
recent version of OECD 302 B (1992) the publication lacks of the
following information: temperature, pH, dissolved oxygen concentration,
light regime, preparation of inoculum, controls and blank controls,
medium, analytical method as well as source and purity of the test
compound. Nevertheless, validity and sensitivity were assessable.
supporting study of Billen et al. 1980 did not follow a specific
guideline and used 14C-labbeled acetic acid of an unknown source and
purity. It therefore was ranked “reliable 3”.
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