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Comparative microscale analysis of the effects of triclosan and triclocarban on the structure and function of river biofilm communities

Lawrence, J.R., Zhu, B., Swerhone, G.D.W., Roy, J., Wassenaar, L.I., Topp, E., Korber, D.R. (2009). Comparative microscale analysis of the effects of triclosan and triclocarban on the structure and function of river biofilm communities, 407(10), 3307-3316. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2009.01.060

Abstract

The broad spectrum antimicrobials triclosan (TCS) and triclocarban (TCC) are commonly detected in the environment. However, there is very limited understanding of the aquatic ecological implications of these agents. During this study, river biofilms were cultivated using 10 μg l- 1 of TCS or TCC and the equivalent in nutrients (carbon, nitrogen) over a developmental period of 8 weeks. Confocal laser microscopy showed that the biofilm communities developing under the influence of TCS and TCC had community architecture and composition different from either control or nutrient exposed communities. Microscale analyses of biofilm community structure indicated a significant reduction in algal biomass (p < 0.05) as a result of exposure to either TCS or TCC. Thymidine incorporation did not detect significant differences between control and treated communities. The use of carbon utilization assays based on growth indicated that, in general, TCS and TCC suppressed utilization. The community was altered from one dominated by autotrophic processes to one dominated by heterotrophic processes. Both TCS and TCC treatments resulted in significant (p < 0.05) alterations in the composition of the EPS matrix of the communities, suggesting significant changes in community composition. Denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis and PCA-ANOSIM analyses indicated a significant change occurred in the bacterial community as a consequence of TCS treatments. Enumeration of micrometazoa and protozoa revealed an increase in micrometazoan numbers over control values, whereas no clear impact on protozoa was detected in any treatment. This study indicated significant effects of 10 μg l- 1 TCS and TCC on microbial community composition, algal biomass, architecture and activity. Crown Copyright © 2009.

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