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Environmental fate & pathways

Biodegradation in water: screening tests

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Description of key information

Key value for chemical safety assessment

Biodegradation in water:
readily biodegradable

Additional information

In aqueous solution, the substance rapidly hydrolyses to methanol and sodium hydroxide. Since sodium hydroxide is an inorganic component, not undergoing biodegradation, degradation may occur for the hydrolysis product methanol. Three publications were available to describe the biodegradability of methanol.

In a study by Price et al. (1974) according to APHA guidelines, 3, 7 and 10 mg/L methanol were tested for oxygen consumption. After 20 days, 95% were biodegraded in freshwater and 97% in marine water. A BOD test reported by Wagner (1976) showed 71.5 and 82.7% oxygen consumed after 5 days in domestic sludge and synthetic sludge respectively. A batch reactor study by Matsui et al. (1988) reported 91% COD removal and 92% TOC removal after 1 day of acclimation and 1 day in the reactor when using 100 mg/L methanol as initial substance.