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Effects of Antimicrobials on Wetland Plants and Fungal Endophytes

Accumulation of the antimicrobials triclosan and triclocarban and their effects on growth and development of wetland plants and fungal endophytes On 27 November 2013, Laurentian-SETAC hosted Dr. Kevin Stevens from Wilfrid Laurier University for our monthly pub night at Shakespeare’s Arms (or Shakie’s, as we like to call it), in Guelph. Dr. Stevens gave a very informative and interactive talk on the effects of two common antimicrobials, triclosan (TCS) and triclocarban (TCC), which are found in everyday consumer products. In the work that he presented, Dr. Stevens focused on wetland plants, and how their continuous exposure to low doses of TCC and TCS from wastewater coming from wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) affects their growth and development. His group analyzed seed germination and development, root length and root surface area, as well as how TCS and TCC exposure of affects root colonization by arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi. Dr. Steven’s work showed that the total root length, root area, and root colonization by fungi were significantly impacted at concentrations of TCS as low at 0.4 ppb. Moreover, accumulation patterns of the two chemicals varied among emergent, semi-emergent, floating-leaved, and submerged groups of plants, as well as across species within one group. Dr. Stevens’s work suggests that the impact that TCS and TCC have on wetland plants and plant communities in rivers receiving water from WWTPs is significant and it varies depending on the type of plant, on its location along the river bank, and on the plant species. – Submitted by Oana Birceanu

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