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Keywords:

  • Triclocarban;
  • Triclosan;
  • Methyltriclosan;
  • Bioaccumulation;
  • Helisoma trivolvis

Abstract

Grazing by freshwater snails promotes nutrient turnover in algal communities. Grazed algal compartments may include antimicrobial agents and metabolites, such as triclocarban (TCC), triclosan (TCS), and methyltriclosan (MTCS), which are incompletely removed by wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) processing. The present study quantifies snail bioaccumulation factors (BAFs) for TCC, TCS, and MTCS at the outfall of Pecan Creek (TX, USA), the receiving stream for the city of Denton (TX, USA) WWTP. Helisoma trivolvis (Say) is ubiquitous and thrives under standard laboratory conditions, leading to its choice for this bioaccumulation study in conjunction with Cladophora spp. Along with providing substrate for epiphytic growth, Cladophora spp. provide a source of food and shelter for H. trivolvis. After being caged for two weeks, algae and snails were collected from the WWTP outfall, along with water-column samples, and analyzed by isotope dilution gas chromatography-mass spectrometry for TCS and MTCS and by liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry for TCC. Algal and snail samples were analyzed before exposure and found to be below practical quantitation limits for all antimicrobial agents. Triclocarban, TCS, and MTCS in water samples were at low-ppt concentrations (40–200 ng/L). Triclocarban, TCS, and MTCS were elevated to low-ppb concentrations (50–300 ng/g fresh wt) in caged snail samples and elevated to low-ppb concentrations (50–400 ng/g fresh wt) in caged algal samples. Resulting snail and algal BAFs were approximately three orders of magnitude, which supports rapid bioaccumulation among algae and adult caged snails at this receiving stream outfall. The results further support TCC, TCS, and MTCS as good candidate marker compounds for evaluation of environmental distribution of trace WWTP contaminants.