2023 SETAC North America Poster Presentations
Smithers exhibited and presented at the SETAC North America 44th Annual Meeting in Louisville, Kentucky.
Assessing the persistence of organic chemicals is a requirement for product registration worldwide. Several standardized test methods are used for this assessment to provide evidence of whether a chemical will remain intact (or persist) once exposed to the environment through a sewer system, land application, or disposal. One of the most straightforward ways of determining the ultimate biodegradation of an organic chemical is by measuring the amount of CO2 produced after it is in contact with an inoculated matrix.
Some chemicals, especially polymers, may be challenging to work with due to their chemical and physical properties (e.g., low water solubility, adsorptive nature, etc.) and are often not ‘readily’ biodegradable in an aqueous test system. To further complicate the situation, these molecules might not be amenable to radiolabeling typically used to track the chemical due to the complexity of their structure, and/or the process of radiolabeling might be cost-prohibitive.
Therefore, this study investigates at least three natural polymers representing a disaccharide, protein, and fat in both an aqueous standard OECD 301B CO2 evolution test and a soil CO2 evolution test. This experiment compares the efficiency of the soil CO2 evolution test to the standard aqueous test to see if a soil CO2 evolution test containing a higher density of microbial biomass is a plausible option for assessing the biodegradability of challenging compounds such as polymers.
Sean McLaughlin presented this research at the SETAC North America 44th Annual Meeting in Louisville, Kentucky.