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Organosilicon compounds have numerous applications in consumer products. After entering the environment most of them are resistant against microbial degradation and they persist in the environment. Accordingly, they are ubiquitously present in the environment. Therefore, better environmentally degradable organosilicon compounds are urgently needed. A systematic investigation of environmental degradability of organosilicon compounds allows to derive some general design principles, which in turn would enable chemists to reduce or better avoid environmental persistence of organosilicon compounds in the environment. Therefore, in this study, all organosilicon substances registered in the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) database were evaluated for their environmental biodegradability. Results of own experiments with different organosilicon substances were added to extend the data basis. A dataset was generated. An assessment of all data was done and invalid data were excluded. The remaining 182 substances were grouped regarding their structure to derive general rules for the environmental biodegradability of organosilicon compounds. Non-biodegradable at all were for example cyclic, linear and branched siloxanes. Groups like ethers, esters, oximes, amines, and amides were prone to hydrolysis, which can result in readily biodegradable intermediates if they do not contain silicon functional groups anymore. This knowledge could be used for the design of better degradable organosilicon compounds as non-degradable substances should be avoided if they enter the environment after their usage. Copyright © 2021 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Elisa Grabitz, Oliver Olsson, Klaus Kümmerer. Towards the design of organosilicon compounds for environmental degradation by using structure biodegradability relationships. Chemosphere. 2021 Sep;279:130442

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PMID: 33887595

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