Cefic-lri Programme | European Chemical Industry Council

ECO11 – UNEW: Towards rationally designed hazard, risk and persistency assessment: Putting the “bio” back into biodegradability tests

Principal Investigator

Dr. Russell Davenport
School of Civil Engineering and Geosciences
Cassie Building
Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 7RU
Tel: +44 191 2225544

Fax: +44 191 2226502


Dr. Jason Snape, Brixham Environmental Laboratory, AstraZeneca UK Ltd., UK, jason.snape@brixham.astrazeneca.com
Dr. Jon Ericson, Pfizer Global Research and Development, Pfizer Inc., USA, jon.f.ericson@pfizer.com
Dr. Torben Madsen, DHI, DK, tma@dhigroup.com

Dr. Anne R. Pedersen, DHI, DK,  arp@dhigroup.com


The objectives of this project are as follows:
Objective 1a.  Determine the extent and variation in microbial diversity of environmental sources used in biodegradation studies i.e. activated sludge, fresh-, estuarine- and marine-waters.
Objective 1b.  Examine the relationship between microbial diversity, cell density and the probability of biodegradation occurring for chemicals that have a range of environmental persistency.
Objective 2.  Compare different approaches to pre-concentrate biomass and their influence on microbial community composition.  These include sandwich filtration; centrifugation; tangential flow filtration; and biofilm development through the colonisation of glass beads.
Objective 3a.  Investigate the relationship between the test volume used in the biodegradation study, the microbial diversity introduced into the test, and the probability of observing degradation at a fixed initial test chemical concentration (i.e. study the impact of varied F:M).
Objective 3b.  Investigate the effect of proportionally increasing the inoculum density with initial test chemical concentration (i.e. fixed F:M) on biodegradation rates.
Objective 4.  Validate the enhanced biodegradation screening test using the CEFIC-LRI ECO12 reference chemicals for persistency, and publish the procedure in appropriate journals and submit the final protocol to the OECD or ISO test guidelines programme.

Click here to read the project summary.

Related Publications


Martin TJ, Snape JR, Bartram A, Robson A, Acharya K, Davenport RJ. Environmentally Relevant Inoculum Concentrations Improve the Reliability of Persistent Assessments in Biodegradation Screening Tests. Environ Sci Technol. 2017 Mar 7;51(5):3065-3073.

Martin TJ, Goodhead AK, Acharya K, Head IM, Snape JR, Davenport RJ. High Throughput Biodegradation-Screening Test To Prioritize and Evaluate Chemical Biodegradability. Environ Sci Technol. 2017 Jun 20;51(12):7236-7244.


Russell J. Davenport, T. J. Martin, A.K.Goodhead, J.R.Snape, J. F. Ericson, T. Madsen and A. Pedersen. The Rational Analysis and Design of Enhanced Biodegradation Tests for Persistence Assessments. Cefic-LRI 13th Annual Workshop, November 2011, Brussels, Belgium.

Timeline: January 2009 > December 2011

LRI funding: € 399 333

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