RABIT - Environmental risk assessment of poorly soluble substances: Improved tools for assessing biodegradation, (de)sorption, and modelling (UBC)

Projektlaufzeit: 2016 - 2018


Prof. Andreas Schäffer
Dr. Kilian Smith
Dipl. Biol. Felix Stibany


European Chemical Industry Council CEFIC (CEFIC LRI-ECO32)


Technical University of Denmark (DTU)
German Environmental Protection Agency (UBA)

Hintergrund (there is no translation available at the moment):

Highly hydrophobic chemicals with an extremely low aqueous solubility in the range of a few µg/L are used in a broad range of applications. Currently, more than 850 substances with a log KOW ≥ 5.5 are registered in the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) database under the EU Chemical Legislation regulation (REACh). For example, in the field of personal care products (PCP), 2–5 % of the total annual production in Germany is estimated to consist of highly hydrophobic compounds, e.g., used as emulsifiers. Besides the high production volumes, the typical way of application, i.e., ‘rinse off’ application, promotes the potential release of substantial amounts of these chemicals into wastewater and the aquatic environment. Therefore, reliable assessments of the environmental fate and potential toxicity are urgently needed for poorly soluble chemicals.

This project focusses on the following questions:

1. How can the aqueous phase biodegradation kinetics of poorly water soluble substances be measured without the influence of bioavailability factors, i.e., without (de)sorption effects?
2. How can the desorption rates of poorly water soluble substances from soils, sediments and/or sludges be reliably assessed over time?
3. How can both biodegradation and (de)sorption be unified in one model and how can the model be used to differentiate (de)sorption and biodegradation in standard tests?