An ingredient commonly found in antibacterial products does not appear to contribute to antibiotic resistance, say researchers from the University of Manchester, United Kingdom and Proctor and Gamble in Cincinnati, Ohio. Their findings appear in the September 2003 issue of the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology.
Triclosan is an antibacterial compound frequently found in domestic and clinical applications. Although concentration levels are often low, specific areas such as kitchen sink drains are highly exposed because triclosan is so commonly used in domestic products. Recent research has suggested that exposure to this compound may lead to antibiotic resistance in some bacteria.
In the study, long-term bacterial communities found in sink drains were established and maintained over a period of six months and then subjected to detergents containing triclosan for three months. Cultures were then extracted and susceptibility to four biocides and six antibiotics were analyzed. With the exception of Escherichia coli, results showed that minimal levels of triclosan exposure did not affect antimicrobial susceptibility in environmental communities.
"Long-term exposure of domestic-drain biofilms to sublethal levels of triclosan did not effect bacterial vitality or significantly alter antimicrobial susceptibility," say the researchers. "We conclude therefore that the emergence of antibiotic resistance through triclosan in the kitchen is highly improbable."
(A.J. McBain, R.G. Bartolo, C.E. Catrenich, D. Charbonneau, R.G. Ledder, B.B Price, P. Gilbert. 2003. Exposure of sink drain microcosms to triclosan: population dynamics and antimicrobial susceptibility. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 69. 9: 5433-5442.)
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