Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



First Advisor

Joy Ware


Amphibians are particularly sensitive to environmental degradation and, therefore, serve as effective environmental quality indicators. Research has suggested that amphibian declines are exacerbated by manmade environmental toxicants, especially those found in high concentrations in urban areas. The NIH has pinpointed genotoxicity as a major route of cancer causation, and has since developed stringent testing procedures for potentially hazardous chemicals. One such method, recognized for its simplicity and economy, is the micronucleus assay. A study was conducted assessing the genotoxicity of the widely used antimicrobial agent Triclosan to American Bullfrog tadpoles. Lithobates catesbeianus tadpoles were reared in glass aquaria containing ultra-high purity water and were dosed with nominal concentrations of 2.3 µg/L, 23 µg/L, and 230 µg/L Triclosan, reflecting 1x, 10x, and 100x concentrations of the compound as found in US surface waters. Eight replicates of each of the three levels of Triclosan contamination were prepared, as well as eight replicates per control group. Each replicate contained three tadpoles in a glass aquarium, from which one tadpole per tank was sampled after 1, 8, or 15 days following initial exposure to test compounds. Erythrocytes were prepared on slides and scored for micronucleus presence under 1000x magnification. Triclosan induced significant micronucleus formation after only 24 hours in all treatments relative to the negative control and exhibited a maximum of 15 micronuclei per 2,000 erythrocytes scored. Modeling of MN induction dynamics by treatment suggested that the best predictor of micronucleus induction was the acute TCS exposure level, as described by a linear mixed effects model including a binomial term of time exposed. Micronucleus induction was TCS concentration dose-dependent. This study supports that Triclosan induces significant genetic damage at environmentally relevant concentrations. It is clear that the effects of genotoxic agents must be certified so proper regulatory protocols can be developed and enforced, in order to conserve wildlife and promote human health.


© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

May 2012

Included in

Biology Commons