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Environmental fate & pathways

Biodegradation in water and sediment: simulation tests

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According to the EU risk assessment report for hydrogen peroxide (European Commission 2003) a number of simulation tests on biodegradation are available. Degradation in lake water (Jacks Lake, Ontario) during summer time was studied (Cooper and Lean 1989). The lake was characterised as oligotrophic with a pH value of 7.2, a Ca2+ concentration of 14 mg/L, a mean phosphorous content of 0.012 mg/L and a DOC of 6 mg/L. The initial concentration of hydrogen peroxide in the lake water was 0.003 mg/L. Dark decay of the substance followed first order kinetics and the following half-lives were observed: 7.8 hours for unfiltered water, 8.6 hours for filtered water (5 micrometre), 31 hours for filtered water (1 micrometre) and >24 hours for filtered water (0.45 micrometre). It appeared from the results that the fraction containing pico plankton contained also the major portion of the biological agent degrading hydrogen peroxide. Hydrogen peroxide degradation was also measured in Lake Ontario (Cooper et al. 1989). The half-lives ranged from 14.7 to 21.6 hours. No degradation of hydrogen peroxide over a period of 7 hours was observed when water was filtered through 0.45 micrometre membranes. The dark decay time of hydrogen peroxide was also measured in sea water at room temperature (Johnson et al. 1989). The initial concentration of hydrogen peroxide was between 3 and 5 microgram/L. The degradation rate was 0.13 microgram/L/hour and hydrogen peroxide disappeared after 23 to 39 hours.