Biodegradation of disodium cocoamphodiacetate by a wastewater microbial consortium

Sybil Sharvelle, Elizabeth Skvarenina, M. Katherine Banks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Biodegradation of an amphoteric surfactant commonly used in personal care products, disodium cocoamphodiacetate (DSCADA), was evaluated. Results from respirometry experiments indicated that high levels of DSCADA (>216 mg/L) may be toxic to bacteria in wastewater treatment processes. Limited biodegradation, with 50% dissolved organic carbon (DOC) removal and 80% chemical oxygen demand removal was observed in batch assays, while complete removal of the parent compound, DSCADA, was noted. Oxygen biosensors were used to evaluate biodegradability of the metabolites present in the batch samples. Additional aerobic microbial activity was not detected in these samples, even with a residual DOC of approximately 45 mg/L. Results from this research indicate that biodegradability of DSCADA is limited and recalcitrant metabolites may be formed. Because DSCADA is a commonly used surfactant and is present in domestic and industrial wastewater, the associated risk posed by residual compounds should be carefully evaluated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)276-281
Number of pages6
JournalWater Environment Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2008


  • Amphoteric surfactant
  • Biodegradation
  • Disodium cocoamphodiacetate
  • Graywater
  • Metabolite

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Ecological Modeling
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution


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