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Applied and Environmental Soil Science
Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 646750, 8 pages
Research Article

Impacts of Triclosan in Greywater on Soil Microorganisms

Life Sciences and Environmental Pollution Control Programs, Penn State Harrisburg, 777 West Harrisburg Pike, Middletown, PA 17057, USA

Received 15 April 2011; Accepted 11 May 2011

Academic Editor: Matthias Noll

Copyright © 2011 Danielle I. Harrow et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The use of greywater for irrigation is becoming a common practice in arid regions such as the Southwestern US, the Middle East, Australia, and China. While greywater supplies nutrients to soil ecosystems, the possible impact of trace contaminants, particularly pharmaceuticals and personal care products, has not been determined. This paper examined the impact of triclosan, an antibacterial agent commonly added to consumer products, on microbial populations and microbial diversity in soil irrigated with greywater. While there was no change in the total number of heterotrophic microorganisms in the soil, both the types and the antibiotic resistance of the microorganisms were significantly influenced by triclosan. The proportion of the microbial isolates resistant to antibiotics increased while at the same time, overall diversity of the microbial community decreased.