Identification of wastewater bacteria involved in the degradation of triclocarban and its non-chlorinated congener

Todd R. Miller, David R. Colquhoun, Rolf Halden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Triclocarban (TCC) is an antimicrobial additive of personal care products that is only partially degraded during wastewater treatment. Bacteria responsible for its transformation are unknown. We obtained wastewater bacteria capable of using as the sole carbon source TCC or its non-chlorinated analog, carbanilide (NCC). Enrichments established using activated sludge amended with TCC and NCC, respectively, were maintained for 1 year through successive transfers. Enrichments displayed exponential growth after 2 weeks, reaching stationary phase after 1 month. The NCC enrichment was shown to accumulate aniline. Denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis of amplified 16S rRNA genes indicated markedly reduced community richness compared to the inoculum and a single, prominent taxonomic unit emerged in both chlorinated and non-chlorinated carbanilide enrichment cultures. Cloned 16S rRNA genes showed both enrichments were dominated by a single genotype related to uncharacterized organisms within the Alcaligenaceae. Of ~30 sequences from each enrichment, no other organisms were detected in the TCC enrichment while, a small, flanking community of alpha proteobacteria was detected in the NCC enrichment. Study results demonstrate that growth of wastewater bacteria on TCC and its lower chlorinated analog can be linked to bacteria within the family Alcaligenaceae. These organisms are promising agents for the bioremediation of hazardous phenylurea pollutants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)766-772
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Hazardous Materials
Issue number1-3
StatePublished - Nov 2010


  • Alcaligenes
  • Antimicrobial
  • Carbanilide
  • Phenylurea herbicide
  • Triclocarban
  • Wastewater bacteria

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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