2016 Annual Report - page 12

Odds are you’re not especially concerned about what goes
on beneath the ground you walk on daily. But groundbreaking
research by Dr. Mónica O. Mendez,TAMIU associate professor
of Biology, indicates that those of us above ground should be
more concerned.
Dr. Mendez has been studying bacteria-fighting triclosan,
common in everything from household antibacterial soaps
to toothpaste. Her research shows that triclosan isn’t too
particular about dispatching bad, or good bacteria. It was
published in the March edition of
The Journal of Environmental
For her study, Mendez and colleagues watered vegetables
and soil with triclosan-contaminated water. The study
measured the long-term, repeated effects of triclosan on soil
and plant communities.While triclosan does break down, it
never completely disappears…and researchers found it can
actually turn into other harmful compounds.
So there are above and below-ground concerns with the
use of triclosan worth consideration.
“It’s not just triclosan that we’re interested in…we also
want to understand the possible products as degradation
occurs.We know that triclosan decreases the diversity of
bacterial communities, but we still need to figure out which
good bacteria we are losing,” Dr. Mendez explained.
To find out more about Dr. Mendez’ triclosan research, visit:
The Ground Beneath You
Bears the Weight of Research
Students Leslie Cantú (foreground) and Ashley García (background) irrigate
onions with triclosan-contaminated water to see if the anitbacterial agent
accumulates in the plants. Photo credit: Dr. Mónica Mendez.
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