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Environmental fate & pathways

Biodegradation in water: screening tests

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biodegradation in water: ready biodegradability
Type of information:
experimental study
Adequacy of study:
key study
Study period:
22 April 2021
1 (reliable without restriction)
Rationale for reliability incl. deficiencies:
guideline study
according to guideline
OECD Guideline 301 B (Ready Biodegradability: CO2 Evolution Test)
GLP compliance:
Specific details on test material used for the study:
lot nr 202011220005

Diphenyl sulphone content: 99.99 %
Oxygen conditions:
Inoculum or test system:
activated sludge (adaptation not specified)
Details on inoculum:
The source of test organisms was activated sludge freshly obtained from a municipal sewage treatment plant: 'Waterschap Aa en Maas', 's-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands, receiving predominantly domestic sewage.
Duration of test (contact time):
29 d
Initial conc.:
ca. 18 mg/L
Based on:
Parameter followed for biodegradation estimation:
CO2 evolution
Details on study design:
- Composition of medium:
- Additional substrate:
- Solubilising agent (type and concentration if used):
- Test temperature: 22 +/- 2°C
- pH: 7.4 +/- 2°c
- pH adjusted: yes 1 M HCL
- CEC (meq/100 g):
- Aeration of dilution water:
- Suspended solids concentration: 12.8 mg/L
- Continuous darkness: yes
- Other:

- Culturing apparatus: 2 L amber glass bottles
- Number of culture flasks/concentration: Test suspension: containing test item and inoculum (2 bottles).Inoculum blank: containing only inoculum (2 bottles)
Procedural control: containing procedural control item, and inoculum (1 bottle).
Toxicity control: containing test item, procedural control item, and inoculum (1 bottle).

- Method used to create aerobic conditions:
- Method used to create anaerobic conditions:
- Measuring equipment: titration
- Test performed in closed vessels due to significant volatility of test substance:
- Test performed in open system:
- Details of trap for CO2 and volatile organics if used: Three CO2-absorbers (bottles filled with 100 mL 0.0125 M Ba(OH)2) were connected in series to the exit aeration line of each test bottle.

- Inoculum blank: yes
- Abiotic sterile control: no
- Toxicity control: yes
- Other: Sodium acetate reference control

Reference substance:
acetic acid, sodium salt
Preliminary study:
Before the start of the test (Day -1) mineral components, Milli- RO water (ca. 80 % of final volume) and inoculum were added to each bottle. This mixture was aerated with synthetic air overnight to purge the system of CO2.
Key result
% degradation (CO2 evolution)
ca. 5
Sampling time:
28 d
Results with reference substance:
Functioning of the test system was checked by testing the procedural control item sodium acetate, which showed a normal biodegradation curve (79 % within 14 days, ).
Validity criteria fulfilled:
Interpretation of results:
not inherently biodegradable
Diphenyl sulphone was not readily biodegradable under the conditions of the modified Sturm test
Executive summary:

The biodegradation in water  of Diphenyl sulphone was investigated in a standard screening study OECD 301B.


Relative biodegradation values calculated from measurements performed during the test period revealed no biologically relevant biodegradation of Diphenyl sulphone (5 % and 0 %, based on ThCO2).

In the toxicity control, more than 25 % biodegradation occurred within 14 days (40 %, based on ThCO2). Therefore, the test item was considered not to inhibit microbial activity.

Functioning of the test system was checked by testing the procedural control item sodium acetate, which showed a normal biodegradation curve (79 % within 14 days ).

Description of key information

The aerobic biodegradation of diphenyl sulphone in water was determined in the OECD 301 b study.  The substance is found not to be readily biodegradable.
5% and 0% degradation was calculated based on ThCo2 after 28 days.

Key value for chemical safety assessment

Biodegradation in water:
not biodegradable
Type of water:

Additional information

the  test results confirm the   estimated   values, and  it is   concluded that DPS was not readily biodegradable