Persistence of triclocarban and triclosan in soils after land application of biosolids and bioaccumulation in Eisenia foetida

Christopher P. Higgins, Zachary J. Paesani, Talia E. Abbott Chalew, Rolf Halden, Lakhwinder S. Hundal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

69 Scopus citations


The presence of the antimicrobial chemicals triclocarban (TCC) and triclosan (TCS) in municipal biosolids has raised concerns about the potential impacts of these chemicals on soil ecosystems following land application of municipal biosolids. The relative persistence of TCC and TCS in agricultural fields receiving yearly applications of biosolids at six different loading rates over a three-year period was investigated. Soil and biosolids samples were collected, extracted, and analyzed for TCC and TCS using liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry. In addition, the potential for bioaccumulation of TCC and TCS from the biosolids-amended soils was assessed over 28 d in the earthworm Eisenia foetida. Standard 28-d bioaccumulation tests were conducted for three biosolids loading rates from two sites, representing agronomic and twice the agronomic rates of biosolids application plots as well as control plots receiving no applications of biosolids. Additional bioaccumulation kinetic data were collected for the soils receiving the high biosolids loadings to ensure attainment of quasi steady-state conditions. The results indicate that TCC is relatively more persistent in biosolids-amended soil than TCS. In addition, TCC bioaccumulated in E. foetida, reaching body burdens of 25±4 and 133±17ng/gww in worms exposed for 28 d to the two soils amended with biosolids at agronomic rates. The 28-d organic carbon and lipid-normalized biota soil accumulation factors (BSAFs) were calculated for TCC and ranged from 0.22±0.12 to 0.71±0.13. These findings suggest that TCC bioaccumulation is somewhat consistent with the traditional hydrophobic organic contaminant (HOC) partitioning paradigm. However, these data also suggest substantially reduced bioavailability of TCC in biosolids-amended soils compared with HOC partitioning theory. Environ. Toxicol. Chem. 2011; 30:556-563. © 2011 SETAC

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)556-563
Number of pages8
JournalEnvironmental Toxicology and Chemistry
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2011


  • Antimicrobials
  • Bioaccumulation
  • Biosolids
  • Earthworm
  • Persistence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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