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Environmental fate & pathways

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There are numerous reports of aerobic and anaerobic/anoxic micro-organisms and treatment systems able to degrade cyanide, as reviewed in ECETOC’s JACC, No. 53, 2007.   Non-toxic concentrations of cyanide can be readily biodegraded, both aerobically and anaerobically. Degradation of cyanides by bacteria in sewage treatment plants depends on the availability of micro-organisms adapted to the presence of cyanide for about two weeks. Sudden high levels of cyanide in these sewage plants may lead to a loss of viability, while fully adapted sludge may tolerate and degrade concentrations up to 100 to 150 mg CN/l with a high degree of efficiency.