Antibiotics and Antimicrobial Agents

Of the classes of PPCPs in the environment that have received a relatively high level of study are antibiotic therapeutics and antibacterial agents. Similar to other pharmaceuticals, antibiotics are specifically used to target various biomolecules in animals. Generally classified as personal care products, antimicrobial agents including triclosan and triclocarban are heavily utilized in products ranging from soaps to toothpaste. Such molecules that implicitly target microorganisms are ofparticular concern for 'nontarget' species residing in aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems, as well as the critical ecosystem functions (e.g., nutrient cycling and decomposition) that are mediated by lower-trophic-level organisms. Table 1

provides a summary of the major antibiotic classes and select representatives that are used as human or veterinary medicines.

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