Decay of peracetic acid in seawater and implications for its chemotherapeutic potential in aquaculture

Lars Flemming Pedersen, Carlo C. Lazado

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Peracetic acid (PAA) is a widely applied disinfectant in aquaculture. Knowledge on PAA decay in seawater (SW) is crucial for its successful implementation in SW aqua culture systems. We investigated the decay dynamics of PAA in SW under controlled conditions to assess the potential effect of temperature, salinity and light. We also applied PAA to 22 tanks with post-smolt Atlantic salmon Salmo salar in full-strength SW (33‰) over a realistic range of therapeutic concentrations (0.15-4.8 mg l-1) to simulate relevant treatment scenarios. The study showed that PAA degrades rapidly in SW. The degradation follows exponential first-order decay with half-lives on the order of minutes to hours. Salinity and temperature significantly affected the decay of PAA, showing a 4-fold faster decay rate in full-strength SW compared to freshwater. The decay of PAA was not significantly related to the nominal concentration of PAA in the concentration range tested. The other 2 active ingredients in PAA products, hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) and acetic acid, were found to degrade at a much slower rate. H2O2 half-lives in SW were found to range from 15 to 70 h, and minimal acetate was found to be degraded when added to SW. Finally, we compiled published data on PAA decay in relevant water matrices and discussed the potential environmental impacts, mitigation options and future research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)153-165
Number of pages13
JournalAquaculture Environment Interactions
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Acetate
  • Amoebic gill disease
  • Decay kinetics
  • Half-life
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Peracetic acid

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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