Degradation of triclosan under aerobic, anoxic, and anaerobic conditions

Appl Biochem Biotechnol. 2012 Jul;167(6):1603-12. doi: 10.1007/s12010-012-9573-3. Epub 2012 Feb 11.


Triclosan (2, 4, 4'-trichloro-2'-hydroxyl diphenyl ether) is a broad-spectrum antimicrobial agent present in a number of house hold consumables. Aerobic and anaerobic enrichment cultures tolerating triclosan were developed and 77 bacterial strains tolerating triclosan at different levels were isolated from different inoculum sources. Biodegradation of triclosan under aerobic, anoxic (denitrifying and sulphate reducing conditions), and anaerobic conditions was studied in batch cultures with isolated pure strains and enrichment consortium developed. Under aerobic conditions, the isolated strains tolerated triclosan up to 1 g/L and degraded the compound in inorganic-mineral-broth and agar media. At 10 mg/L level triclosan, 95 ± 1.2% was degraded in 5 days, producing phenol, catechol and 2, 4-dichlorophenol as the degradation products. The strains were able to metabolize triclosan and its degradation products in the presence of monooxygenase inhibitor 1-pentyne. Under anoxic/anaerobic conditions highest degradation (87%) was observed in methanogenic system with acetate as co-substrate and phenol, catechol, and 2, 4-dichlorophenol were among the products. Three of the isolated strains tolerating 1 g/L triclosan were identified as Pseudomonas sp. (BDC 1, 2, and 3).

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aerobiosis
  • Anaerobiosis
  • Anti-Infective Agents, Local / metabolism*
  • Bacteria / classification
  • Bacteria / growth & development
  • Bacteria / metabolism
  • Biodegradation, Environmental*
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Culture Media
  • Oxygen / metabolism*
  • Phylogeny
  • Triclosan / metabolism*


  • Anti-Infective Agents, Local
  • Culture Media
  • Triclosan
  • Oxygen