Document Type




Format of Original

9 p.

Publication Date



American Chemical Society

Source Publication

Environmental Science & Technology

Source ISSN


Original Item ID

doi: 10.1021/acs.est.5b03080


Triclocarban (TCC) is one of the most abundant organic micropollutants detected in biosolids. Lab-scale anaerobic digesters were amended with TCC at concentrations ranging from the background concentration of seed biosolids (30 mg/kg) to toxic concentrations of 850 mg/kg to determine the effect on methane production, relative abundance of antibiotic resistance genes, and microbial community structure. Additionally, the TCC addition rate was varied to determine the impacts of acclimation time. At environmentally relevant TCC concentrations (max detect = 440 mg/kg), digesters maintained function. Digesters receiving 450 mg/kg of TCC maintained function under gradual TCC addition, but volatile fatty acid concentrations increased, pH decreased, and methane production ceased when immediately fed this concentration. The concentrations of the mexB gene (encoding for a multidrug efflux pump) were higher with all concentrations of TCC compared to a control, but higher TCC concentrations did not correlate with increased mexB abundance. The relative abundance of the gene tet(L) was greater in the digesters that no longer produced methane, and no effect on the relative abundance of the class 1 integron integrase encoding gene (intI1) was observed. Illumina sequencing revealed substantial community shifts in digesters that functionally failed from increased levels of TCC. More subtle, yet significant, community shifts were observed in digesters amended with TCC levels that did not inhibit function. This research demonstrates that TCC can select for a multidrug resistance encoding gene in mixed community anaerobic environments, and this selection occurs at concentrations (30 mg/kg) that can be found in full-scale anaerobic digesters (U.S. median concentration = 22 mg/kg, mean = 39 mg/kg).


Accepted version. Environmental Science & Technology, Vol. 50, No. 1 (2016): 126-134. DOI. © 2015 American Chemical Society. Used with permission.