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Environmental fate & pathways

Biodegradation in water: screening tests

Administrative data

biodegradation in water: ready biodegradability
Data waiving:
study scientifically not necessary / other information available
Justification for data waiving:
Justification for type of information:
Enzymes are found in every living organism as an essential component of the digestive systems, and as a key tool in metabolism by breaking down proteins, carbohydrates and lipids and as such, they are the basis for all life. Enzymes are proteins, hydrophilic and readily biodegradable. In nature, they are involved at any level of the food chain and in the microbial biodegradation.
For more than 40 years enzymes have been used in industrial processes to replace chemicals and reduce requirements for water and energy. Furthermore they are widely distributed in household articles for laundering.
The widespread use of enzymes has been followed by investigations relevant for ecotoxicity. Investigations are mainly performed to establish knowledge on short-term aquatic toxicity and on the rate of biodegradability of the enzyme.
The main results achieved indicate all enzyme classes are readily biodegradable. Degradation products are primarily peptides and amino acids, then carbon dioxide and water which cause no harm to nature [1]. OECD ready biodegradability tests have been conducted on lipases, cellulases and amylase with results (92 to 99% DOC removal) that surpass the OECD threshold limit of 70% DOC removal [2].

[1] Enzymes REACH Consortium (2010). Data waiving argumentation for technical enzymes.
[2] Bergman,A. and Broadmeadow,A. (1997) An overview of the safety evaluation of the Thermomyces lanuginosus xylanase enzyme (SP 628) and the Aspergillus aculeatus xylanase enzyme (SP 578). Food additives and contaminants 14, 389-398

Data source

Materials and methods

Results and discussion

Applicant's summary and conclusion

Interpretation of results:
readily biodegradable