Biodegradation of triclosan in biosolids-amended soils



Land application of biosolids can constitute an important source of triclosan (TCS) input to soils, with uncertain effects. Several studies have investigated the degradation potential of TCS in biosolids-amended soils, but the results vary widely. We conducted a laboratory degradation study by mixing biosolids spiked with [14C]-TCS (final concentration = 40 mg/kg) with Immokalee fine sand and Ashkum silty clay loam soils at an agronomic application rate (22 Mg/ha). Biosolids-amended soils were aerobically incubated in biotic and inhibited conditions for 18 weeks. Subsamples removed at 0, 2, 4, 6, 9, 12, 15, and 18 weeks were sequentially extracted with an operationally defined extraction scheme to determine labile and nonlabile TCS fractions. Over the 18-week incubation, the proportion of [14C] in the nonlabile fraction increased and the labile fraction decreased, suggesting decreasing availability to biota. Partitioning of TCS into labile and nonlabile fractions depended on soil characteristics. Less than 0.5% of [14C]-TCS was mineralized to carbon dioxide (14CO2) in both soils and all treatments. A degradation metabolite, methyl triclosan (Me-TCS), was identified in both soils only in the biotic treatment, and increased in concentration over time. Even under biotic conditions, biosolids-borne TCS is persistent, with a primary degradation (TCS to Me-TCS) half-life of 78 d in the silty clay loam and 421 d in the fine sand. A half-life of approximately 100 d would be a conservative first approximation of TCS half-life in biosolids-amended soils for risk estimation. Environ. Toxicol. Chem. 2011;30:2488–2496. © 2011 SETAC