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Diss Factsheets

Ecotoxicological information

Toxicity to aquatic algae and cyanobacteria

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Administrative data

Link to relevant study record(s)

Description of key information

Worst-case EC50 for growth rate > 7.6 mg/L - no effects up to the limit of water solubility are expected.

Key value for chemical safety assessment

Additional information

Studies are available for some pure homologue members of the fatty acid category. In addition some studies are available for certain fatty acid mixtures. Generally it could be stated that toxicity of fatty acids to aquatic organisms increases with increasing chain length up to the water solubility limit at a chain length of C12. For longer chains no effects at saturation are observed.

For the mixture under discussion here no study on algae is available. Thus a read-across is prepared to a study conducted with the pure homologues C12 (CAS 143 -07 -7) and C14 (CAS 544 -63 -8) the main components of the mixture.

For the evaluation of the mixture only studies available for pure homologues which were determined as key were chosen for read-across. All linked studies conducted with the pure homologues were used in a weight of evidence approach to cover the endpoint "toxicity of aquatic algae" for the considered fatty acid mixture.

Fatty acid homologue

EC50for growth rate (as reported in the study)

Water solubility*

Test design and species


C12 - CAS 143-07-7
lauric acid

> 7.6 mg/L (initial mean measured)

4.81 mg/L at 20 °C

72 h, static,
Pseudokirchneriella subcapitata

NITE, 2001d

C14 - CAS 544-63-8 myristic acid

> 2.1 mg/L (measured)

< 0.13 at 20 °C

72 h, static,
Pseudokirchneriella subcapitata

NITE, 2003d

* see category justification

In the study available for lauric acid (12: CAS 143 -07 -7), which was conducted according to the OECD guideline 201, algae (Pseudokirchneriella subcapitata) were exposed with the test substance in a dose-response experiment under GLP-conditions (NITE, 2001d). In the static test an EC50 for growth rate > 7.6 mg/L (initial measured) was determined, which is above the reported limit of water solubility for this homologue.

The homologue myristic acid (C14: CAS 544 -63 -8) was tested on Pseudokirchneriella subcapitata in a static limit test according

to OECD 201 in compliance with GLP-requirements (NITE, 2003d). The tested concentration of 2.1 mg/L (measured) was above the limit of water solubility reported in the category justification for the C14 fatty acid homologue (< 0.13 mg/L). As no effects could be observed at this concentration the EC50 for growth rate is reported to be above 2.1 mg/L.

In addition to the read-across studies one report is available which describes the effects of a C6 - C20 fatty acid mixture (Wierich and Kläs, 1994). In this test algae (Desmodesmus subspicatus) were exposed in a static system with different concentrations of the test substance. The study was conducted according to DIN 38412, part 9 under GLP-conditions and resulted in an EC50 for growth rate > 100 mg/L and thus above the expected water solubility of the mixture. Nevertheless, as the test substance is not clearly described, the report is regarded as insufficient for evaluation (RL4).

From the reported results of the test available for the fatty acid homologues C12 and C14 no adverse effects of the considered fatty acid mixture are expected on algae. In all cited tests no effects up to the water solubility limits of the pure homologues were reported. Thus the EC50 based on growth rate is expected to be > 7.6 mg/L for the fatty acid mixture.