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Environmental fate & pathways

Biodegradation in soil

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Administrative data

biodegradation in soil, other
Type of information:
experimental study
Adequacy of study:
key study
2 (reliable with restrictions)
Rationale for reliability incl. deficiencies:
study well documented, meets generally accepted scientific principles, acceptable for assessment
The study is not performed according to an internationally recognized guideline, but is well described, giving interesting insights on the catechol biodegradation in soil.

Data source

Reference Type:
Biodegradation, stabilization in humus, and incorporation into soil biomass od 2,4-D and chlorocatechol carbons
Stott D.E., Martin J.P., Focht D.D., Haider K.
Bibliographic source:
Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J., 47, 66-70.

Materials and methods

Principles of method if other than guideline:
Biodegradation in soil
GLP compliance:
not specified
Test type:

Test material

Constituent 1
Chemical structure
Reference substance name:
EC Number:
EC Name:
Cas Number:
Molecular formula:
Details on test material:
The ring 14C-labeled catechol was synthesized according to Martin et al. (1979). The purity was tested by gas chromatography after direct silylation with N-methyl-N-trimethylsilyl-trifluoracetamide.

Study design

Oxygen conditions:
Soil classification:
not specified
Details on soil characteristics:
Four soils were used for the tests:
- Steinbeck loam (pH: 5)
- Fallbrook sandy loam (pH: 5.5)
- Greenfield sandy loam (pH: 7)
- Sorrento loam (pH: 7.4)
The four soils used in this study were air-dried, sieved prior to use.
No more information.
Duration of test (contact time)
6 mo
Initial test substance concentrationopen allclose all
Initial conc.:
25 ppm
Based on:
other: test mat. / Concentration used in both testing periods (6 months and 1 year)
Initial conc.:
500 ppm
Based on:
other: test mat. / Concentration used in the 1-year testing period only
Parameter followed for biodegradation estimation:
CO2 evolution
Experimental conditions
23 °C
other: 60% of the water capacity
Details on experimental conditions:
- Soils were incubated in the presence of the organic substrates in a closed system. The moisture content was 60% of the water capacity, the temperature was 23°C. The flasks were aerated with a constant stream of humidified and CO2-free air. The amounts of total CO2 and 14C02 released were analysed.
- Concentrations of 25 and 500 ppm were tested for 1 year. Only the concentration of 25 ppm was tested for 6 months.
- Each treatment was duplicated.

- The biodegradation of ring labelled catechol, free or linked into model humic acid polymers, was followed over 6-month and 1-year incubation periods, and the distribution of the residual activity in biomass, new humus, and 6N HCl hydrolysable substrates was determined.
- The 14C-labelled catechol was incorporated into model humic acid polymers by reacting about 1 g of a phenolic mixture with 14 mg of peroxidase over a 5-d period.
- The 14C activity of the organic substrates, the 14CO2 evolved during incubation, the residual 14C remaining in the soil after incubation or extractions have been described.

Results and discussion

% Degradation
% Degr.:
> 24 - < 50
other: dissipation
Sampling time:
6 mo
Transformation products:
not specified
Evaporation of parent compound:
not specified
Volatile metabolites:
not specified
not specified
Details on results:
- 96% of the 14C-labelled catechol in the reactive mixture was recovered in the polymers.
- 37 to 50% of the catechol was lost over 1 year indicating substantial stabilisation of the compound, probably by enzymatic polymerisation reactions. Catechol incorporated into model polymers was still more stable with 6 to 22% of the 14C evolved as CO2.
- After 1 year, about 3 to 8% of the residual 14C activity from catechol was present in the biomass. The amount of residual C in the biomass from the catechol incorporated into the model polymers varied from 0.2 to 2.1%.

- % 14C evolved as 14CO2 in 6 months (catechol at 25 ppm):
in Steinbeck loam: 24
in Fallbrook sandy loam: 50
in Greenfield sandy loam: 28
in Sorrento loam: 26

- % 14C evolved as 14CO2 in 1 year (catechol at 25 ppm):
in Steinbeck loam: 39
in Fallbrook sandy loam: 39
in Greenfield sandy loam: 40
in Sorrento loam: 43

- % 14C evolved as 14CO2 in 1 year (catechol at 500 ppm):
in Steinbeck loam: 50
in Fallbrook sandy loam: 40
in Greenfield sandy loam: 38
in Sorrento loam: 37

Applicant's summary and conclusion