The biodegradation of N-alkyl polypropylene polyamines (NAPPs) was studied using pure and mixed cultures to enable read-across of ready biodegradability test results. Two Pseudomonas spp. were isolated from activated sludge with N-oleyl alkyl propylene diamine and N-coco alkyl dipropylene triamine, respectively. Both strains utilized all NAPPs tested as the sole source of carbon, nitrogen and energy for growth. Mineralization of NAPPs was independent of the alkyl chain length and the size of the polyamine moiety. NAPPs degraded in closed bottle tests (CBTs) using both river water and activated sludge. However, ready biodegradability of NAPPs with alkyl chain lengths of 16–18 carbon atoms and polyamine moieties with three and four nitrogen atoms could not be demonstrated. Biodegradation in the CBT was hampered by their limited bioavailability, making assessment of the true ready biodegradability of these highly adsorptive surfactants impossible. All NAPPs are therefore classified as readily biodegradable through read-across. Read-across is justified by the broad substrate specificity of NAPP-degrading microorganisms, their omnipresence and the mineralization of NAPPs.
- N-alkyl polypropylene polyamine
- ready biodegradability
- substrate specificity