Skip to main content

HKBU’s collaborative research reveals how triclosan, a widely used antibacterial ingredient, is triggered to harm the gut


An international collaborative research study co-led by Prof. Zongwei Cai from Hong Kong Baptist University, Prof. Matthew R. Redinbo from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Prof. Guodong Zhang from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, reveals how triclosan can be triggered to harm the gut and cause inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD).


Triclosan is widely used as an antibiotic ingredient added to toothpastes, cosmetics, yoga mats and thousands of other products.  The study in mice demonstrates triclosan could be converted by specific gut bacteria to cause damage and ultimately lead to inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD). Moreover, studies identify the bacterial and enzymes that are responsive for the harmful effects, which can be blocked to stop from driving intestinal damage.


The research team suggested that the safety of triclosan and related compounds should be reconsidered given their potential for intestinal damage. The findings were published in Nature Communications (

Contact Our Researcher


Professor Zongwei Cai