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Issue 4, 2011
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The distribution of triclosan and methyl-triclosan in marine sediments of Barker Inlet, South Australia

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Abstract

In this work, we investigated the transport and burial of triclosan and its methylated derivative, in surface sediments near the mouth of Barker Inlet in South Australia. The most likely source of this commonly used bactericide to the area is a wastewater outfall discharging at the confluence of the inlet with marine waters. Triclosan was detected in all samples, at concentrations (5–27 μg kg−1) comparable to values found in other surface sediments under the influence of marine wastewater outfalls. Its dispersal was closely associated with fine and organic-rich fractions of the sediments. Methyl-triclosan was detected in approximately half of the samples at concentrations <11 μg kg−1. The occurrence of this compound was linked to both wastewater discharges and biological methylation of the parent compound. Wastewater-borne methyl-triclosan had a smaller spatial footprint than triclosan and was mostly deposited in close proximity to the outfall. In situmethylation of triclosan likely occurs at deeper depositional sites, whereas the absence of methyl-triclosan from shallower sediments was potentially explained by photodegradation of the parent compound. Based on partition equilibrium, a concentration of triclosan in the order of 1 μg L−1 was estimated in sediment porewaters, a value lower than the threshold reported for harmful effects to occur in the couple of species of marine phytoplankton investigated to date. Methyl-triclosan presents a greater potential for bioaccumulation than triclosan, but the implications of its occurrence to aquatic ecosystem health are difficult to predict given the lack of ecotoxicological data in the current literature.

Graphical abstract: The distribution of triclosan and methyl-triclosan in marine sediments of Barker Inlet, South Australia

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Publication details

The article was received on 31 Oct 2010, accepted on 22 Dec 2010 and first published on 12 Jan 2011


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C0EM00612B
Citation: J. Environ. Monit., 2011,13, 801-806
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    The distribution of triclosan and methyl-triclosan in marine sediments of Barker Inlet, South Australia

    M. Fernandes, A. Shareef, R. Kookana, S. Gaylard, S. Hoare and T. Kildea, J. Environ. Monit., 2011, 13, 801
    DOI: 10.1039/C0EM00612B

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