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EC number: 203-856-5
CAS number: 111-30-8
Glutaraldehyde is biodegradable in activated sludge, sediment and pond water under aerobic as well as anaerobic conditions: Glutaraldehyde dissipated in the aerobic water/sediment system with the half-life of 1.25 d (12 °C). The corresponding rate constant is 0.555 d-1.
The biodegradability of glutaraldehyde 50% was tested according to
the OECD Guideline 303 A (1993) respectively ISO Standard 11733 in the
Activated Sludge Simulation Test (BASF AG 97/0329/30/1). The test
duration was 73 days, the DOC concentration of the test substance in the
influent was 20 mg/l; the nutrient solution was 53 mg/L DOC in the
influent, the dry weight of the added inoculum (domestic sludge) was 2.5
g/l, the mean retention time was 6 hours. Samples were taken from the
influent and effluent of the two parallel running units; one unit served
for control whereas the second one served as test unit. The adaptation
phase was < 1 day, followed by a plateau phase of 72 days. The mean
biodegradation was 97 % after 73 days with a corresponding standard
deviation of 1% (95% confidence interval).
The aim of four other studies was to investigate the environmental
fate of glutaraldehyde in pond water and sediment under aerobic (EPA
Subdivision N Pesticide Guideline 162-4; PTRL West 365W-1 and ABC Lab
32736) and anaerobic conditions (EPA Subdivision N Pesticide Guideline
162 -3; PTRL West 365W-1 and ABC Laboratories 32735). However, the
studies conducted at ABC Laboratories are considered as supporting
information since they are old and do not fulfil the current
requirements of the OECD 308. There are several deficiencies:
- only one combination
of sediment + water tested (two required)
- source of water and
sediment not given
- repeatability and
sensitivity of analytical methods have not been reported
- nothing is said
about an acclimation period
products have not been identified
- transformation rate
in the sediment was not determined
- mineralization rate was not determined, neither the
transformation rate for the whole system
- Anaerobic study
only: - no evidence has been provided about anoxic conditions, e.g.
oxygen contents have not been reported.
supporting studies confirm the results of the key studies with respect
to rapid aerobic and anaerobic degradation of glutaraldehyde in aqueous
The results of the key-studies can be summarized as follows:
Aerobic conditions: In the beginning of the study (Esser, 1994)glutaraldehyde
was found mainly in the river water (86.9-90.8% of the dose within the
first 12 hours). Glutaraldehyde
decreased rapidly in the water and was completely metabolized within 48
hours. The major
metabolite was 14CO2(total of 80% in the headspace
and the water at the end of the study). Glutaric
acid was formed as an intermediate in the water phase (18.9-21.5% of the
dose at 12 hours), but was itself completely metabolized within 48 hours. Radioactivity
from glutaraldehyde or its metabolites was incorporated into biomass or
adsorbed to the sediment (maximum of 21-25.3% at 48 hours) and could not
be extracted completely. The calculated pseudo-first order half-life of
glutaraldehyde in water under aerobic conditions was 10.6 hours at 25°C
corresponding to 1.25 d at 12°C.
Anaerobic conditions: Glutaraldehyde
and its metabolites were predominantly associated in the
aqueous phase (Esser, 1994). After 123 days, >87% of the radioactivity
was still in the aqueous phase, and sediment levels were 7.6-9.2%. The
overall material balance of radioactivity was 98.7 +/- 2.5%. The parent
compound was rapidly metabolized with the first-order half-life being
7.7 hours. Glutaraldehyde was transformed to 5-hydroxypentanal which
accounted ca. 37% of applied radioactivity on day 1, after that it
declined below 10% and after 30 days it was not detected at all.
Glutaraldehyde was transformed to Compound A via Aldol condensation,
cyclization and dehydration. Compound A accounted about 10-20% of total
radioactivity from day 1 on. The second stable transformation product
was 1,5-pentanediol which accounted 35% of radioactivity on day 1,
peaked on day 3 to 76% after two weeks and accounted 70% of
radioactivity at the end of the test. Less than 10% of radioactivity was
detected in the sediment. Insignificant amounts of CO2 were produced
during the experiment.The calculated
pseudo-first order half-life of glutaraldehyde in water under anaerobic
conditions was 7.7 hours.
In conclusion, the results of the different studies confirmed the
results of the ready biodegradability test; therefore, the test
substance can be regarded as biodegradable in the activated sludge as
well as the pond water and sediment simulation test.
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