Standardized methods for anaerobic biodegradability testing

  • Wolf-Rüdiger Müller
  • Irene Frommert
  • Ralf Jörg
Article

Abstract

The European Community Directive 67/548/EEC (adopted in 1967), Annex V, contains about 85 testing methods, legally binding for all EU-Member States. They are regularly updated, or new methods are introduced in a formal procedure. Until 2002, no anaerobic biodegradability testing methods have been explicitly included either in the EU Directive 67/548/EEC or in the OECD-Guidelines adopted. However, a ‘hidden’ EU-document with a testing scheme exists which recommends when anaerobic testing may be applied, without specifying in detail which legally binding method is to be used.

In order to give an impression of the spectrum available, anaerobic test schemes proposed by ASTM, CEN, DIN, ISO, ECETOC, and OECD, are classified according to temperature, test environment, test purposes, and the equipment used.

Some problems with the equipment and the methodology such as permeation phenomena, reproducibility, and the medium composition are addressed. With this, the difficulty to reach a satisfying carbon balance can be better understood. Finally, some recommendations are given on how to improve knowledge on the test equipment and the test procedure.

Keywords

anaerobic testing aqueous systems biodegradability EU-directive 67/548/EEC methodology guidelines standards 

Abbreviations

ASTM

American Society for Testing and Materials

ATP

adaptation to technical progress

Av.

average

BDP

biodegradable Plastic

Biodeg. Biodegrad.

biodegradation, biodegradability

BOD

biochemical oxygen demand

CEN

European Committee for Standardization, Comité Européen de Normalisation

Conc.

concentration

DG Environment

Directorate General Environment EU

DIC

dissolved inorganic carbon

Digest.dig.

digester, digested

DIN

Deutsches Institut für Normung

DIS

Draft International Standard

DOC

dissolved organic carbon

ECB

European Chemical Bureau

ECETOC

European Chemical Industry Ecology and Toxicology Center Brussels

EINECS

European Inventory of Existing Commercial Chemical Substances

EUR-Lex website

European Union laws are published in http://europa.eu.int/eur-lex/

FDIS

Final Draft International Standard

IC

inorganic carbon

Inhib.

inhibition

ISO

International Organization for Standardization

Liq.

liquid

Mat.

material

MITI

Ministry of International Trade and Industry Japan

MSM

mineral salt medium

OC

organic carbon

OECD

Organization of Economical Cooperation and Development

OJ

Official Journal

PCL

Biodegradable synthetic polymer poly-ɛ-caprolactone

PHB

biodegradable polymer composed of hydroxybutyrate

PHBV

biodegradable polymer composed of hydroxybutyrate and hydroxyvalerate

pr

CEN Project Reference

SC

sub committee

Spl.

sample

STP

Standard Temperature (T0= K, 0 °C) and pressure (p0= 1.013225* 105 Pa, 1013.25 mbar);

TC

Total Carbon, Technical Committee (ISO)

ThBiogas

theoretical maximum amount of biogas (CH4 CO2) after complete biodegradation of an organic material under anaerobic conditions, calculated from molecular formula (part of C-atoms); expressed in ml/mg test material under standard conditions ISO/DIS 14853 (1999)

ThCH4

theoretical maximum amount of CH4 after complete reduction of an organic material, calculated from the molecular formula expressed in mg CH4/mg test material, ISO/DIS 14853 (1999)

ThCO2

theoretical maximum amount of CO2 after complete oxidation of an organic material, calculated from molecular formula expressed in mg CO2/mg test material, ISO/DIS 14853 (1999)

ThOD

theoretical oxygen demand

tlag

lag-time defined as the time interval between the start (with inoculation) and the time to reach the maximal cell division rate [25]. OECD-Guidelines define it as the period from inoculation in a die-away test until the degradation percentage has increased up to 10% of ThOD [21]

TotGasProd

amount of biogas produced referred to test material (values of blank vessels subtracted)

UNEP

United Nations Environment Programme

WG

Working Group

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Council Directive 67/548/EEC of 27 June 1967 on the approximation of laws, regulations and administrative provisions relating to the classification, packaging and labelling of dangerous substances. Official Journal of the European Communities 196, 16.8.1967, p. 1.Google Scholar
  2. European Chemicals Bureau (2002a) Newsletter, Institute for Health and Consumer Protection, Iss. 1, 2002, Joint Research Center, European Commission, publ. since 2000, 3 issues / aGoogle Scholar
  3. European Chemicals Bureau (2002b) European Chemicals Bureau: Overview to Annex V Testing methods, updated 18.03.2002, http://ecb.jrc.it/testing-methods/updateGoogle Scholar
  4. European Commission (1986) European Commission: Guiding principles for a strategy for biodegradability testing (only a German version was accessible ‘Informationsdokument der zuständigen Stellen für die Implementierung der Richtlinie 79/831/EWG) Document number XI/841/86-Final, 9 pp, 1986Google Scholar
  5. European Commission (1990) European Commission: European Inventory of Existing Commercial Chemical Substances (EINECS), Official Journal of the European Community C 146 A, Vol. 33, 15.06.1990Google Scholar
  6. European Commission (1996a) European Commission: Technical guidance document in support of commission directive 93/67/EEC on risk assessment for new notified substances and commission regulation (EC) No 1488/94 on risk assessment for existing substances, Part I, Luxembourg: Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, 1996, 256 pp, ISBN 92-827-8011-2Google Scholar
  7. European Commission (1996b) European Commission: Technical guidance document in support of commission directive 93/67/EEC on risk assessment for new notified substances and commission regulation (EC) No 1488/94 on risk assessment for existing substances, Part II, Luxembourg: Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, 1996, 276 pp, ISBN 92-827-8012-0Google Scholar
  8. European Commission (1996c) European Commission: Technical guidance document in support of commission directive 93/67/EEC on risk assessment for new notified substances and commission regulation (EC) No 1488/94 on risk assessment for existing substances, Part III, Luxembourg: Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, 1996, 136 pp, ISBN 92-827-8013-9Google Scholar
  9. European Commission (1996d) European Commission: Technical guidance document in support of commission directive 93/67/EEC on risk assessment for new notified substances and commission regulation (EC) No 1488/94 on risk assessment for existing substances, Part IV, Luxembourg: Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, 1996, 127 pp, ISBN 92-827-8014-7Google Scholar
  10. European Commission (1997a) European Commission: Notification of new chemical substances in accordance with directive 67/548/EEC on the classification, packaging and labelling of dangerous substances, EINECS Corrections, Luxembourg: Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, 1997-IV, 121 pp, ISBN 92-828-0196-9Google Scholar
  11. European Commission (1997b) European Commission: Notification of new chemical substances in accordance with directive 67/548/EEC on the classification, packaging and labelling of dangerous substances, Technical Guidance for the completion of a summary notification dossier for a new chemical substance utilizing the structured notification interchange format (SNIF) base-set and levels 1 and 2, Luxembourg: Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, 1997, 81 pp, ISBN 92-828-0195-0Google Scholar
  12. European Commission (2001) European Commission: White Paper, Strategy For A Future Chemicals Policy, Brussels, 27.2.2001, COM(2001) 88 FinalGoogle Scholar
  13. European Commission (2002) European Commission: Manual of decisions for implementation of the sixth and seventh amendments to directive 67/548/EEC on dangerous substances (Directives 79/831/EEC and 92/32/EEC), non confidential version, NOTIF/3/2001, Last modified 23.01.2002Google Scholar
  14. European Commission: The Directive on dangerous substances, information site, continuously updated: http://europa.eu.int/comm/environment/dansub/home_en.htmGoogle Scholar
  15. Guwy AJ (2002) Equipment used for testing anaerobic biodegradability and activity, in Proceed. Workshop on Harmonisation of Anaerobic Biodegradation, Activity and Inhibition Assays, pp. 91–102, 7-8.06.2002 Lago di Orta, European Communities EUR 20535 ENGoogle Scholar
  16. Jörg R (2000) Anaerobe Abbaubarkeit von Kunststoffen in aquatischen Screening-Tests mit dem Methanomat, Stutt. Ber. Abfall. Wirtsch., Bd. 76, Bielefeld: E. SchmidtGoogle Scholar
  17. Kjeldsen, P 1993Evaluation of gas diffusion through plastic materials used in experimental and sampling equipment, WatRes.27121131Google Scholar
  18. Morris, JG 1974A Biologist’s Physical ChemistryEdward Arnold LtdLondon2nd edn.Google Scholar
  19. Müller WR & Boley A & Schäfer A & Fink AB (1997) Reproducibility and Reliability of Respirometric Biodegradation Test with Biodegradable Polymers. Oral Present., Abstracts 6th An. Meet. Bio/Environmentally Degrad. Polymer Soc. (BEDPS), SanDiego, USA, Sept. 17–20Google Scholar
  20. Müller WR & Boley A & Jörg R & Schäfer A (1998) Untersuchung der Abbaubarkeit, in Wasserkal. 1999, 33 Jahrg., 103–146, Berlin: E. Schmidt VerlagGoogle Scholar
  21. OECD (2002) OECD Guidelines for Testing of Chemicals, Paris, ISBN 92-64-12221-4, 1981, periodically up-to-dated by supplements, 14th addendum, May 2002Google Scholar
  22. Pagga, U, Beimborn, DB 1993Anaerobic biodegradation test for organic compoundsChemosphere2714991509Google Scholar
  23. Painter HA (1992) Detailed Review Paper on Biodegradability Testing, OECD Test Guidelines Programme, Period. Rev., July 1992Google Scholar
  24. Rozzi A & Remigi E (2002) Activity assessment, in Proceed. Workshop on Harmonisation of anaerobic biodegradation, activity and inhibition assays, pp. 31–50, 7-8.06.2002, Lago di Orta, European Communities EUR 20535 ENGoogle Scholar
  25. Schlegel, HG 1992Allgemeine MikrobiologieG. ThiemeStuttgart 7Aufl.Google Scholar
  26. Standing Committee of Analysts (1986) Determination of the inhibitory effects of chemicals and wastewaters on the anaerobic digestion of sewage sludge, in: Methods for the Examination of Waters and Associated Materials, HMSO (Her Majesty’s Stationary Office) Publication Center, London, ISBN 011751943XGoogle Scholar
  27. Stringer DA (Ed.) (1988) Evaluation of Anaerobic Biodegradation. ECETOC Techn. Rep. 28, 42 p. BrusselsGoogle Scholar
  28. Vert M (2002) Terminology in the field of degradable and biodegradable Polymers and Plastics, CEN TC 249 WG 9␣Characterization of degradability N 46, 2002-01-04Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wolf-Rüdiger Müller
    • 1
    • 2
  • Irene Frommert
    • 1
  • Ralf Jörg
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute for Sanitary Engineering, Water Quality and Solid Waste ManagementUniversity of StuttgartGermany
  2. 2.Arbeitsbereich Biologie, Lehrstuhl für Hydrochemie und Hydrobiologie in der SiedlungswasserwirtschaftInstitut für Siedlungswasserbau, Wassergüte- und Abfallwirtschaft, Universität StuttgartStuttgartGermany

Personalised recommendations