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Lookup NU author(s): Dr Timothy Martin,
Professor Russell Davenport
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Society's reliance upon chemicals over the last few decades has led to their increased production, application and release into the environment. Determination of chemical persistence is crucial for risk assessment and management of chemicals. Current established OECD biodegradation guidelines enable testing of chemicals under laboratory conditions but with an incomplete consideration of factors that can impact on chemical persistence in the environment. The suite of OECD biodegradation tests do not characterise microbial inoculum and often provide little insight into pathways of degradation. The present review considers limitations with the current OECD biodegradation tests and highlights novel scientific approaches to chemical fate studies. We demonstrate how the incorporation of molecular microbial ecology methods (i.e., 'omics') may improve the underlying mechanistic understanding of biodegradation processes, and enable better extrapolation of data from laboratory based test systems to the relevant environment, which would potentially improve chemical risk assessment and decision making. We outline future challenges for relevant stakeholders to modernise OECD biodegradation tests and put the 'bio' back into biodegradation. (C) 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Author(s): Kowalczyk A, Martin TJ, Price OR, Snape JR, van Egmond RA, Finnegan CJ, Schafer H, Davenport RJ, Bending GD
Publication type: Review
Publication status: Published
Journal: Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety
Print publication date: 01/01/2015
Online publication date: 15/10/2014
Acceptance date: 23/09/2014
ISSN (print): 0147-6513
ISSN (electronic): 1090-2414
Publisher: ACADEMIC PRESS INC ELSEVIER SCIENCE