A recent paper in mBio revealed an unintended consequence of the widespread use of triclosan, commonly used in antibiotic soaps, toothpastes and other products. The research was conducted by MCDB graduate student Adnan Syed, MCDB Postdoctoral Fellow Sudeshna Ghosh, and MCDB Assistant Professor Blaise Boles and UM Civil and Environmental Engineering professor Nancy G. Love. They explain:

"Triclosan has been used as a biocide for over 40 years, but the broader effects that it has on the human microbiome have not been investigated. We demonstrate that triclosan is present in nasal secretions of a large portion of a test population and its presence correlates with Staphylococcus aureus nasal colonization. Triclosan also promotes the binding of S. aureus to human proteins and increases the susceptibility of rats to nasal colonization by S. aureus. These findings are significant because S. aureus colonization is a known risk factor for the development of several types of infections. Our data demonstrate the unintended consequences of unregulated triclosan use and contribute to the growing body of research demonstrating inadvertent effects of triclosan on the environment and human health."

The complete paper is at:

Syed AK, Ghosh S, Love NG, Boles BR. 2014. Triclosan promotesStaphylococcus aureus nasal colonization. mBio 5(2):e01015-13. doi:10.1128/mBio.01015-13.