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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
2 (reliable with restrictions)
Rationale for reliability incl. deficiencies:
other: Guideline study with acceptable restrictions

Data source

Reference Type:
A correlation study of biodegradability determinations with various chemicals in various tests
Gerike P, Fischer WK
Bibliographic source:
Ecotoxicology and environmental safety 3, 159-173

Materials and methods

Principles of method if other than guideline:
7 different tests for biodegradability (readily or inherent, respectively) were performed: 1) coupled units test (modification of the OECD confirmatory test to the use of the carbon analysis); 2) the Zahn-Wellens test; 3) the Japanese MITI test; 4) the Frensh AFNOR T 90-302 test; 5) the carbon dioxide evolution test according to Sturm; 6) the OECD screening test modified for the use of the carbon analysis; 7) the closed bottle test. Conclusions regarding the individual tests are drawn from comparisons with the other test results.
GLP compliance:

Test material

Constituent 1
Chemical structure
Reference substance name:
EC Number:
EC Name:
Cas Number:
Molecular formula:
Details on test material:
purity: not given in original reference

Study design

Oxygen conditions:
Inoculum or test system:
other: different (according to test guidelines of the 7 tests): from 1 drop of effluent/L to 2.5 g of sludge dry weight/L
Duration of test (contact time):
ca. 14 - ca. 42 d
Parameter followed for biodegradation estimationopen allclose all
Parameter followed for biodegradation estimation:
DOC removal
(for tests according to methods 1 to 6)
Parameter followed for biodegradation estimation:
CO2 evolution
(for test according to method 5)
Parameter followed for biodegradation estimation:
other: COD (for tests according to methods 1 and 2)
Parameter followed for biodegradation estimation:
other: BOD (for tests according to methods 3 and 7)
Reference substance
Reference substance:
other: no reference substance, but 43 other compounds tested together with 2-chloroaniline (readily degrabable and non-degradable ones), which demonstrated the function of the test set-ups

Results and discussion

% Degradationopen allclose all
% degradation (DOC removal)
Sampling time:
10 d
Remarks on result:
other: test 2: Zahn-Wellens test
% degradation (DOC removal)
Sampling time:
14 d
Remarks on result:
other: test 3: MITI test
other: BOD14
Sampling time:
14 d
Remarks on result:
other: test 3: MITI test
% degradation (CO2 evolution)
Sampling time:
28 d
Remarks on result:
other: test 5: Sturm test
Details on results:
further test results:
9% Degradation; DOC removal; 28 d; test 5: Sturm test
-7% Degradation; DOC removal; 19 d; test 6: OECD Screening test (conventional, i.e. no preaccl.)
-0% Degradation; BOD30; 30 d; test 7: Closed bottle test (conventional, i.e. not modified)
- 5-6% Degradation (DOC removal); couled united test (various sampling times)

Any other information on results incl. tables

no further data

Applicant's summary and conclusion

Interpretation of results:
inherently biodegradable
Executive summary:

Gerike and Fischer (1979).

The authors investigated the comparability of several national and international test guidelines for the degradability of chemical compounds by wastewater microorganisms under aerobic conditions. The results of the most of these test strategies enabled to assess the ready biodegradability of the tested compounds.

It could be shown that 2-chloroaniline was degraded not or only to a minor degree in all tests for ready biodegradability. Thus, the conclusive outcome of the work of Gerike and Fischer is that the compound 2-chloroaniline is not readily biodegrabable.

Nevertheless, 2-chloroaniline appeared degradable only in the Zahn-Wellens test (94% after 10 d). Thus, as the Zahn-Wellens test is a study design for investigating the inherent biodegradability, it might be stated furthermore, that 2-chloroaniline is inherently biodegradable.

This overall conclusion that can be drawn from the couple of tests presented by Gerike and Fischer is fully in line with the conclusion drawn in BUA report 57 (see "5.2.1, rel other, BUA report 57, 1991 (part1/3)"). In the latter document the results of several publications to the degradability of 2-chloroaniline are presented and discussed.