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Administrative data

Endpoint:
hydrolysis
Data waiving:
study scientifically not necessary / other information available
Justification for data waiving:
the study does not need to be conducted because the substance is readily biodegradable
Cross-reference
Reason / purpose for cross-reference:
data waiving: supporting information
Reference

Overall, considering all the above information together, the test substance is considered to be readily biodegradable undergoing complete mineralization.

Biodegradation in water:
readily biodegradable
Type of water:
freshwater

Study 1:A preliminary non-GLP study was conducted to determine the best test conditions for conducting the closed bottle ready biodegradation study with the read across substance, C16-18 and C18-unsatd. TMAC (96% active), according to the OECD Guideline 301D. Due to the well-known toxicity of the quaternary substances, the read across substance was evaluated using detoxification methods through the addition of the sorbents silica gel and humic acid at two different concentrations. Activated sludge or river water was used as inoculum in the Closed Bottle test. In addition, a sorbent free test group without any deviations from the guideline was included as a ‘negative control’, to demonstrate the toxicity of the read across substance and to demonstrate the positive detoxifying effects of the sorbents. Ammonium chloride was omitted from the medium to prevent nitrification for all groups except the sorbent free group. The inoculum concentration in the bottles determined by colony count was 7E+5 CFU/L and 6E+5 CFU/L for the river water and activated sludge inoculum, respectively. The tests were performed in triplicates using 0.3 L BOD bottles with glass stoppers. In the tests ‘without sorbent’ use was made of 3 bottles with the read across substance (at 2 mg/L) and the respective inoculum and 3 control bottles only containing the respective inoculum and 36 μg/L isopropanol (to correct for the small amount of isopropanol still present in the read across substance). In the ‘sorbent modified’ tests use was made of 3 bottles containing the read across substance (at 2 mg/L), the respective inoculum and silica gel or humic acid, and 3 control bottles containing only respective inoculum, 36 μg/L isopropanol, and silica gel or humic acid. Silicagel and humic acid concentrations in the bottles (test and control) were 1 and 2 g /bottle and 1 and 2 mg acid/L, respectively. Each of the prepared solutions was dispensed into the respective group of BOD bottles so that all bottles were completely filled without air bubbles. The bottles were closed and incubated in the dark at temperatures ranging from 22 to 24°C. The biodegradation was measured by following the course of the oxygen decrease in the bottles using a special funnel and an oxygen electrode. The dissolved oxygen concentrations were determined electrochemically using an oxygen electrode and meter (WTW). The theoretical oxygen demand (ThOD) of read across substance was calculated from its molecular formula and molecular weight. The BOD (mg/mg) of the read across substance was calculated by dividing the oxygen consumption by the concentration of the read across substance in the closed bottle. The ThODNH3 and ThODNO3 of the active ingredient (active with average chain length) used to calculate the biodegradation percentages was 2.86 g/g and 3.06 g/g, respectively. The biodegradation percentages at Day 28 using activated sludge as inoculum were slightly higher compared to results achieved with river water. Using the conservative ThODNO3 to calculate the biodegradation of read across substance still >60% biodegradation was achieved within 28 days using activated sludge as inoculum and 1 g silica gel / bottle for detoxification. The validity of the test is demonstrated by oxygen concentrations >0.5 mg/L in all bottles during the test period. The pH of the media was 7.4 and 7.2±0.1 (activated sludge) and 8.2 and 8.0±0.1 (river water) at the start and end of Day 42 of the test respectively. Temperatures ranged from 22 to 24°C. The inhibition of biodegradation by the read across substances is usually detected prior to the onset of the biodegradation through suppression of the endogenous oxygen consumption and this was clearly detected until day 7-14 in the sorbent free ready biodegradation tests. The humic acid sorbent still showed an inhibition of the endogenous respiration (negative biodegradation percentages) at Day 7. Detoxification was most successful by the silica gel sorbents and no inhibition of the biodegradation due to the “high” initial read across substance concentration is expected in the presence of silica gel (1 and 2 g/bottle). Under the study conditions, the read across substance was determined to be readily biodegradable and the use activated sludge as inoculum and 1 g silica gel /bottle for detoxification of the read across substance was considered further for the main study (Geerts, 2020).

 

The main study was conducted to determine the ready biodegradability of the read across substance, C16-18 and C18-unsatd. TMAC (96% active), using Closed bottle test, according to the OECD Guideline 301D, in compliance with GLP. Secondary activated sludge was obtained from the domestic wastewater treatment plant Nieuwgraaf in Duiven, The Netherlands. The measured dry weight of the inoculum was 3.2 g/L. The activated sludge was preconditioned to reduce the endogenous respiration rates. The preconditioned inoculum was diluted further to a dry weight concentration of 2 mg/L in the BOD bottles. The inoculum concentration in the BOD bottles determined by colony count was 1E+6 CFU/L. The read across substance (2 mg/L) was exposed to activated sludge, which was spiked to a mineral nutrient solution, dosed in closed bottles supplemented with 1 g silica gel/bottle as sorbent for detoxification of the read across substance, and incubated in the dark at 22.7 to 22.9°C for 28 days. Use was made of 10 bottles containing only inoculum, 10 bottles containing inoculum, silica gel and isopropanol, 10 bottles containing inoculum and silica gel with read across substance, 6 bottles containing inoculum and sodium acetate. The concentrations of the read across substance, and sodium acetate in the bottles were 2.0 mg/L and 6.7 mg/L, respectively. The concentration isopropanol added to the control bottles with silica gel was 35 µg/L which is comparable to the isopropanol content present in the test bottles. Each of the prepared solutions was dispensed into the respective group of biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) bottles so that all bottles were completely filled without air bubbles. The zero-time bottles were immediately analyzed for dissolved oxygen using an oxygen electrode. The remaining bottles were closed and incubated in the dark. Two duplicate bottles of all series were withdrawn for analyses of the dissolved oxygen concentration at Day 7, 14, 21, and 28. Endogenous respiration, theoretical oxygen demand (ThOD), biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) and biodegradation were calculated. The degradation of the read across substance was assessed by the measurement of oxygen consumption. The ThODNH3 and ThODNO3 of the read across substance used to calculate the biodegradation percentages is 2.86 and 3.06 g oxygen/g active ingredient, respectively. According to the results of this study, the read across substance did not cause a reduction in the endogenous respiration at Day 7. The read across substance in the presence of silica gel is therefore considered to be non-inhibitory to the inoculum in the test. The read across substance was biodegraded by 67% (based on ThODNH3), at Day 28. Assuming a complete nitrification of the organic nitrogen present in the read across substance and using a correction for the oxygen consumption by the nitrification, the read across substance was biodegraded by 63% at day 28 (based on ThODNO3). The validity of the test is demonstrated by an endogenous respiration of 1.10 mg/L at Day 28. Furthermore, the differences of the replicate values at Day 28 were less than 20%. The biodegradation percentage of the reference compound, sodium acetate, at Day 14 was 75%. Finally, the most important criterion was met by oxygen concentrations >0.5 mg/L in all bottles during the test period Under the study conditions, the read across substance was determined to be readily biodegradable with >60% biodegradation after 28 days (Geerts, 2020). Based on the results of the read across study, which is a worst case read across, the test substance can also be considered to be readily biodegradable.

Study 3:A study was conducted to determine the biodegradation in water of the read across substance, C18 TMAC (99.5% active) according to OECD guideline 301D, EU Method C.6 and ISO 10707 (Closed Bottle test), in compliance with GLP. The test was performed with activated sludge, domestic in 0.30L BOD (biological oxygen demand) bottles with glass stoppers. There were 10 bottles containing only river water, 6 bottles containing river water and sodium acetate, 10 bottles containing river water with the read across substance. The concentrations of the read across substance, and sodium acetate in the bottles were 1.0, and 6.7 mg/L, respectively. (A slight inhibition of the endogenous respiration of the inoculum by the read across substance was detected at day 7. Therefore, limited inhibition of the biodegradation due to the "high" initial concentration of the test compound is expected. This toxicity was the reason for testing at an initial test compound concentration of 1.0 mg/L). The read across substance was biodegraded by 77% and 73% by the end of 28 days using ThODNH3 and ThODNO3 equations respectively. The test was valid, as shown by an endogenous respiration of 1.1 mg/L and by the total mineralization of the reference compound, sodium acetate. Sodium acetate was degraded by 66% of its theoretical oxygen demand after 14 day. Oxygen concentrations remained >0.5 mg/ L in all bottles during the test period. Under the study conditions, the read across substance can be considered readily biodegradable (van Ginkel, 2005). Based on the results from this longer chain alcohol free quaternary ammonium substance, which would represent a worst case – as longer chains tend to biodegrade more slowly than shorter chains, the test substance, which is mix of C16 and C18 alkyl chains, can be expected to be degrading faster than the read across substance.

The use of silica gel in the key study on biodegradation is supported by the findings from van Ginkel 2008, which showed that silica gel was the best adsorbent as compared to lignosulphonic acid and humic acid (see Figure 1 in the CSR):

Overall, the results obtained with the test substance are in agreement with what is reported in the literature, as summarized below inTable 4.4.

Table 4.4. Compilation of ready biodegradability test results obtained with quaternary ammonium salts (adapted van Ginkel, 2007)

Substance

Test

Results at Day 28 (%)

Hexadecyltrimethylammonium chloride (C16 TMAC)

Headspace Carbon Dioxide

75*

Octadecyltrimethylammonium chloride (C18 TMAC)

Sturm test

>70

Cocotrimethylammonium chloride (Coco TMAC)

Closed bottle

>60

Octylbenzyldimethylammonium chloride (C18 ADBAC)

MITI

>80

Tetradecylbenzyldimethylammonium chloride (C14 ADBAC)

MITI

>80

Decylbenzyldimethylammonium chloride (C10 ADBAC)

Closed bottle

>60

*Mean from 10 laboratories; also cited in OECD TG 310 (adopted on 23 March 2006)

In addition, several literature data are available to clarify the metabolic basis of degradation by micro-organisms. Bacteria identified as Pseudomonas sp capable of degrading alkyltrimethylammonium salts were isolated from activated sludge (van Ginkelet al., 1992; Takenakaet al., 2007). Alkyltrimethylammonium salts with octadecyl, hexadecyl, tetradecyl, dodecyl, decyl, octyl, hexyl and coco alkyl chains supported growth of the isolates, showing the broad substrate specificity with respect to the alkyl chain length. Alkanals, and fatty acids can also serve as a carbon and energy source (van Ginkelet al., 1992; Takenakaet al., 2007). In simultaneous adaptation studies,1H nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometry (1H-NMR) and GC-MS showed that acetate, alkanals and alkanoates are the main intermediates of alkyltrimethylammmonium salt degradation, indicating that the long alkyl chain is utilized for microbial growth (van Ginkelet al., 1992; Nishiyama and Nishihara, 2002; Takenakaet al., 2007). Trimethylamine is stoichiometrically produced by pure cultures of microorganisms growing with the alkyl chain of alkyltrimethylammonium chloride as the sole source of carbon. The cleavage of the C-alkyl-N bond of alkyltrimethylammonium salts resulting in the formation of trimethylamine is initiated by a mono-oxygenase (van Ginkelet al., 1992). Additional evidence of the cleavage of the C-alkyl-N bond as the initial degradation step of alkyltrimethylammonium salts was presented by Nishiyamaet al. (1995) and Takenakaet al. (2007).

Dehydrogenase activity present in cell-free extract of hexadecyltrimethylammonium chloride-grown cells catalysed the oxidation of alkanal to fatty acids. The route of the fatty acid degradation is by β-oxidation. Trimethylamine, a naturally occurring compound is readily biodegradable (Pitter and Chudoba 1990). Complete degradation of trimethylamine is demonstrated through the assessment of the biodegradation pathway. Trimethylamine is degraded by methylotrophic bacteria through successive cleavage of the methyl groups (Large, 1971; Meiberg and Harder, 1978). Consortia of microorganisms degrading the alkyl chain of alkyltrimethylammonium salts and trimethylamine are therefore capable of complete (ultimate) degradation of alkyltrimethylammonium salts. Complete degradation of alkyltrimethylammonium salts using a mixed culture has been demonstrated by Nishiyamaet al. (1995). More recently, Nishiyama and Nishihara (2002) have isolated aPseudomonas spcapable of degrading both the alkyl chain and trimethylamine.  Both the pure and mixed culture studies showed that the degradation of the alkyl chain of alkyltrimethylammonium salts results in the formation of water, carbon dioxide and ammonium (see Figure 2 in the CSR).

Further, according to the evidence presently available on the biodegradation rate, microorganisms readily oxidize the hydrophobic alkyl chains of the cationic surfactants, which is followed by a slower oxidation of the hydrophilic moiety (the corresponding amines) (van Ginkel, 2004). The above biodegradation process for the two moieties plays a key role in the differences in the results between the different cationic surfactants. However, based on the available experimental data and literature evidence, the alkyl chains and the trimethylamine of the test substance is readily biodegradable.

Overall, considering all the above information together, the test substance is considered to be readily biodegradable undergoing complete mineralization.

Data source

Materials and methods

Results and discussion

Applicant's summary and conclusion

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