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Influence of triclosan and triclocarban antimicrobial agents on the microbial activity in three physicochemically differing soils of south Australia

Author(s): Abid Ali, Muhammad Arshad, Zahir A. Zahir | Amer Jamil

Journal: Soil & Environment
ISSN 2074-9546

Volume: 30;
Issue: 2;
Start page: 95;
Date: 2011;
Original page

Keywords: Biodegradation | xenobiotics | antimicrobial agents | biomineralization | bioremediation

Antimicrobial agents are being used in numerous consumer and health care products on account of which their annual global consumption has reached in millions of kilograms. They are flushed down the drain and become the part of wastewater and sewage sludge and end up in the ultimate sink of agricultural soils. Once they are in the soil, they may disturb the soil’s ecology as a result of which microbial activity useful for soil fertility and biodegradation of xenobiotics may severely be impacted. The present study was designed to assess the influence of two antimicrobial agents triclosan (TCS) and triclocarban (TCC), commonly used in consumer and health care products, on the microbial activity in the three agricultural soils from South Australia having different characteristics. The study was laid out following the two factors factorial design by applying 14C-glucose at 5 µg g-1 with either TCS at 0, 30, 90 and 270 µg g-1 or TCC at 0, 50, 150 and 450 µg g-1 in three agricultural soils, Freeling (Typic Rhodoxeralf–sodic), Booleroo (Typic Rhodoxeralf) and Avon (Calcixerralic Xerochrepts). The 14CO2, which was released as a result of microbial respiration, was trapped in 3 mL 1M NaOH and was quantified on Wallac WinSpectral α/β 1414 Liquid Scintillation Counter. The results revealed a significant difference in amounts of 14C-glucose mineralized in the three soils. A significant concentration dependant suppressive effect of TCS on the biomineralization of 14C-glucose appeared in all the tested soils as opposed to TCC where no such concentration dependent effect could be recorded. The reduction in 14C-glucose biomineralization in the Freeling, Booleroo and Avon soils was recorded up to 53.6, 38.5 and 37.4 % by TCS at 270 µg g-1 and 13.0, 5.8 and 1.6 % by TCC at 450 µg g-1 respectively. However, a significant negative correlation of CEC and pH was recorded with TCS and TCC effects. These results may imply that presence of such antimicrobial agents in the soil environment may also be considered while designing the bioremediation strategy for any xenobiotic pollutants.
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