Triclosan changes community composition and selects for specific bacterial taxa in marine periphyton biofilms in low nanomolar concentrations
Journal article, 2020

The antibacterial agent Triclosan (TCS) is a ubiquitous environmental contaminant due to its widespread use. Sensitivity to TCS varies substantially among eu- and pro-karyotic species and its risk for the marine environment remains to be better elucidated. In particular, the effects that TCS causes on marine microbial communities are largely unknown. In this study we therefore used 16S amplicon rDNA sequencing to investigate TCS effects on the bacterial composition in marine periphyton communities that developed under long-term exposure to different TCS concentrations. Exposure to TCS resulted in clear changes in bacterial composition already at concentrations of 1 to 3.16 nM. We conclude that TCS affects the structure of the bacterial part of periphyton communities at concentrations that actually occur in the marine environment. Sensitive taxa, whose abundance decreased significantly with increasing TCS concentrations, include the Rhodobiaceae and Rhodobacteraceae families of Alphaproteobacteria, and unidentified members of the Candidate division Parcubacteria. Tolerant taxa, whose abundance increased significantly with higher TCS concentrations, include the families Erythrobacteraceae (Alphaproteobacteria), Flavobacteriaceae (Bacteroidetes), Bdellovibrionaceae (Deltaproteobacteria), several families of Gammaproteobacteria, and members of the Candidate phylum Gracilibacteria. Our results demonstrate the variability of TCS sensitivity among bacteria, and that TCS can change marine bacterial composition at concentrations that have been detected in the marine environment.

Antimicrobial compounds


care products


Community structure

Amplicon sequencing



Martin Eriksson

Centre for Environment and Sustainability (GMV)

Sanli Kemal

University of Gothenburg

Nilsson Rickard Henrik

University of Gothenburg

Eiler Alexander

Uppsala University

Corcoll Natalia

University of Gothenburg

Johansson Carl Henrik

University of Gothenburg

Backhaus Thomas

University of Gothenburg

Blanck Hans

University of Gothenburg

Erik Kristiansson

Chalmers, Mathematical Sciences, Applied Mathematics and Statistics


0963-9292 (ISSN) 1573-3017 (eISSN)

Vol. 29 7 1083-1094

Driving Forces

Sustainable development

Subject Categories


Other Earth and Related Environmental Sciences




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