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Biodegradation of Volatile Chemicals in Soil: Separating Volatilization and Degradation in an Improved Test Setup (OECD 307)

: Shrestha, Prasit; Meisterjahn, Boris; Klein, Michael; Mayer, Philipp; Birch, Heidi; Hughes, Christopher B.; Hennecke, Dieter


Environmental science and technology 53 (2019), No.1, pp.20-28
ISSN: 0013-936X
ISSN: 1520-5851
Journal Article
Fraunhofer IME ()

During environmental risk assessments of chemicals, higher-tier biodegradation tests in soil, sediment, and surface-water systems are required using OECD standards 307, 308, and 309 guidelines, respectively. These guidelines are not suitable for testing highly volatile chemicals, and a biometer closed-incubation setup is recommended for testing slightly volatile chemicals. In this setup, the degradation kinetics of highly volatile chemicals can largely be influenced by volatilization. Additionally, guidelines lack sufficient information on test-system geometry and guidance on how to measure and maintain aerobic conditions during the test. Our objectives were (1) to design a closed test setup for biodegradation tests in soil in which the maintaining and measuring of aerobic conditions was possible without the loss of volatile test chemicals and (2) to suggest data-treatment measures for evaluating the degradation kinetics of volatile test chemicals. With the new setup, full-scale OECD 307 tests were performed using the volatile 14C-labeled chemicals decane and tetralin. For both test chemicals, reproducible complete mass balances were observed, and the new setup ensured that the volatilization losses were kept below the mineralized fraction. Based on the obtained data, an extended model was developed that enabled consideration of the volatilization in the modeling of degradation kinetics.