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Improving the biodegradability in seawater test (OECD 306)

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Amelie Ott, Dr Tim Martin, Professor Jason Snape, Professor Russell DavenportORCiD


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© 2019 Growth and extensive urbanisation of the human population has been accompanied by increased manufacture and use of chemical compounds. To classify the fate and behaviour of these compounds in the environment, a series of international standardised biodegradation screening tests (BSTs) were developed over 30 years ago. In recent years, regulatory emphasis (e.g. REACH) has shifted from measuring biodegradation towards prioritisations based on chemical persistence. In their current guise, BSTs are ineffective as screens for persistence. The marine BST OECD 306 in particular is prone to high levels of variation and produces a large number of fails, many of which can be considered false negatives. An ECETOC funded two-day workshop of academia, industry and regulatory bodies was held in 2015 to discuss improvements to the marine BSTs based on previous research findings from the Cefic LRI ECO11 project and other foregoing studies. During this workshop, methodological improvements to the OECD 306 test were discussed, in addition to clarifying guidance on testing and interpretation of results obtained from marine BSTs (such as pass criteria, lag phases, freshwater read across and complex substances). Methodologically: (i) increasing bacterial cell concentrations to better represent the bacterial diversity inherent in the sampled environments; and (ii) increasing test durations to investigate extended lag phases observed in marine assessments, were recommended to be validated in a multi-institutional ring test.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Ott A, Martin TJ, Whale GF, Snape JR, Rowles B, Galay-Burgos M, Davenport RJ

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Science of the Total Environment

Year: 2019

Volume: 666

Pages: 399-404

Print publication date: 20/05/2019

Online publication date: 13/02/2019

Acceptance date: 11/02/2019

ISSN (print): 0048-9697

ISSN (electronic): 1879-1026

Publisher: Elsevier BV


DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2019.02.167


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