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Ecotoxicological information

Toxicity to microorganisms

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Description of key information

The inhibition of the degradation activity of activated sludge is not anticipated when introduced in appropriate low concentrations.

Key value for chemical safety assessment

Additional information

Studies on the toxicity of the reaction mass of of ammonium sulphate and potassium sulfate and sodium sulphate to microorganisms are not available. However, nitrogen, potassium and sodium are essential nutrients for organisms and therefore toxicity of the reaction mass or the single components to microorganisms is not expected. This assumption supported by data on the effect of ammonium sulphate and sodium sulphate on microorganisms. For ammonium sulphate, Suwa et al. (1994, cited in OECD SIDS 2007) investigated 14 strains of Nitrobacter spp. (ammonium oxidising bacteria) isolated from 25 different sludges including three sludges from primary sewage treatment plants and two sludges from nightsoil treatment plants. Nitrite production kinetic studies showed that insensitive strains (those which grew well at 4700 mg/L ammonium sulphate) showed Monod growth, while sensitive strains (those which grew at 94 mg/L but not at 4700 mg/L) followed Haldane kinetics. Thus an inhibition of the degradation activity of activated sludge by ammonium sulphate is not expected up to a concentration of 94 mg/L. This result is considered as key information and an EC50 > 94 mg/L is used for the assessment.

Further sodium sulphate, studies on activated sludge protozoa and stalked ciliates were performed (Tokuz and Eckenfelder, 1979; Gilli and Comune, 1980, cited in OECD SIDS 2005). No effect was determined up to ca. 8 g/L. These results indicate that sodium sulphate is not expected to be hazardous to activated sludge. Although no studies for potassium sulfate are available toxic effects of the substance to microorganisms are not expected. This assumption is based on the lack of toxicity found in studies with aquatic organisms and on the fact that potassium is an essential element for living organisms.