Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 25, Issue 15, pp 14743–14751 | Cite as

Temporal dynamics of gut microbiota in triclocarban-exposed weaned rats

  • Rebekah C. Kennedy
  • Russell R. Fling
  • Michael S. Robeson
  • Arnold M. Saxton
  • Liesel G. Schneider
  • John L. Darcy
  • David A. Bemis
  • Ling Zhao
  • Jiangang ChenEmail author
Research Article


Widely used as an antimicrobial in antibacterial bar soaps, triclocarban (3,4,4′-trichlorocarbanilide; TCC) is effective against Gram-positive bacteria but shows little efficacy against Gram-negative strains, potentially altering the composition of indigenous microflora within and on the human body. To date, the consequence of continuous or previous nonprescription antimicrobial exposure from compounds in personal care products on commensal microflora is still elusive. Previous research has shown that TCC exposure during gestation and lactation induced dysbiosis of gut microbial communities among exposed dams and neonates. However, the impact of antimicrobial exposure specifically after discontinuation of the use of TCC on the gut microbiota has not been investigated. In this study, weaned Sprague Dawley rats (postnatal day, PND 22) were provided ad lib access to TCC-supplemented diet (0.2% w/w or 0.5% w/w) for 4 weeks (phase I) followed by a 4-week washout period (phase II) to determine gut microflora changes both during continuous exposure to TCC and to determine the potential rebound following TCC withdrawal. Fecal samples were collected at baseline (PND 22) prior to TCC exposure and throughout phase I and phase II. The V4 region of 16S rDNA was sequenced from extracted total fecal DNA with the MiSeq platform. Exposure to both 0.2% w/w and 0.5% w/w TCC was sufficient to alter diversity of microbiota during phase I of treatment. This effect was further prolonged into phase II, even when TCC exposure was discontinued. Collectively, these data highlight the impact of both continuous and prior TCC exposure on gut microbial ecology and shed light onto the potential long-term health risk of daily nonprescription antimicrobial personal care product use.


Microbiota Triclocarban Antimicrobial Gut microbiota 16S rDNA Weaned rats Antiseptic 



The study was conducted at the University of Tennessee Knoxville and supported by the National Institutes of Environmental Health Sciences to Dr. Jiangang Chen (1R21ES017475-01A1). The content of this article is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the NIEHS.

Compliance with ethical standards

The authors and the conduction of experiments adhered to the research ethics guidelines of the journal.

Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rebekah C. Kennedy
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Russell R. Fling
    • 4
  • Michael S. Robeson
    • 5
  • Arnold M. Saxton
    • 6
  • Liesel G. Schneider
    • 6
  • John L. Darcy
    • 7
  • David A. Bemis
    • 8
  • Ling Zhao
    • 9
  • Jiangang Chen
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Public HealthThe University of Tennessee KnoxvilleKnoxvilleUSA
  2. 2.Comparative and Experimental MedicineThe University of Tennessee KnoxvilleKnoxvilleUSA
  3. 3.Department of Pharmacology and ToxicologyMichigan State UniversityEast LansingUSA
  4. 4.Department of Microbiology and Molecular GeneticsMichigan State UniversityEast LansingUSA
  5. 5.Department of Biomedical InformaticsUniversity of Arkansas for Medical SciencesLittle RockUSA
  6. 6.Department of Animal ScienceThe University of Tennessee KnoxvilleKnoxvilleUSA
  7. 7.Department of Ecology and Evolutionary BiologyUniversity of ColoradoBoulderUSA
  8. 8.Department of Biomedical and Diagnostic SciencesThe University of TennesseeKnoxvilleUSA
  9. 9.Department of NutritionThe University of TennesseeKnoxvilleUSA

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