Biodegradability of Surfactants
D.R. Karsa, M.R. Porter
Springer Science & Business Media, Dec 31, 1994 - Technology & Engineering - 257 pages
The awareness and development of 'biodegradable' surfactants pre-dates current pressures by the environmental movement by nearly three decades, wherein a responsible industry mutually agreed to replace 'hard', non-biodegradable com ponents of household detergents by 'soft', biodegradable alternatives, without course to legislation. The only requirement at that time was for surfactants used in detergents to exhibit a 'primary biodegradability' in excess of 80%; this referring to the disap pearance or removal from solution of the intact surface active material as de tected by specified analytical techniques. This proved useful, as observed environmental impacts of surfactants, e.g. visible foam on rivers, are associated with the intact molecule. Test methods for 'primary biodegradability' were eventually enshrined in EU legislation for nonionic surfactants (Directive 821242/EEC, amended 73/404IEEC) and for anionic surfactants (Directive 8212431EEC, amended 73/405IEEC). No approved test methods and resultant legislation have been developed for cationic and amphoteric surfactants to date. The environmental classification of chemical substances, which of course includes surfactants, and associated risk assessment utilises a second criterion 'ready biodegradability'. This may be assessed by a number of methods which monitor oxygen uptake (BOD), carbon dioxide production or removal of dis solved organic carbon (DOC). Some surfactants which comply with the above Detergents Directive are borderline when it comes to 'ready biodegradability'.
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Introduction to surfactant biodegradation
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activated sludge adsorption aeration aerobic alcohol ethoxylates alkane alkyl chain amines amphoterics analytical anionic surfactants aqueous assessment bacterial benzene betaines biodegradability test biodej C02 evolution cationic cell chloride Closed Bottle test compounds concentration Confirmatory test containing copolymers detergents determined DOC removal effluent environment environmental enzymes ester ether ethoxylates extracted fatty acids fatty alcohol Figure foam Gerike glycol hydrophilic hydrophobic inherent biodegradability inoculum LABS linear MBAS MBAS removal mechanism metabolism methyl methylene blue microbial Microbiol microorganisms MITI molecular molecule non-ionic surfactants OECD Confirmatory oxidation oxygen pathway polyglycol primary biodegradation primary degradation procedure Pseudomonas quaternary ammonium salts reaction ready biodegradability Respirometry samples SCAS Schoberl sewage treatment simulation test soap sodium sodium chloroacetate soluble solution Steber structure substrate sulphate sulphonates surfactant biodegradation Swisher Tenside test chemical test methods test substance tion trimethylamine ultimate biodegradation ultimate degradation Ultimate/ready