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Journal of Environmental Quality Abstract - Reviews and Analyses

Fate and Transport of Antibiotic Residues and Antibiotic Resistance Genes following Land Application of Manure Waste


This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 38 No. 3, p. 1086-1108
    Received: Mar 14, 2008

    * Corresponding author(s): cheesanf@illinois.edu
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  1. Joanne C. Chee-Sanford *a,
  2. Roderick I. Mackiebc,
  3. Satoshi Koikeb,
  4. Ivan G. Krapacd,
  5. Yu-Feng Line,
  6. Anthony C. Yannarellb,
  7. Scott Maxwellf and
  8. Rustam I. Aminovg
  1. a USDA-ARS, 1102 S. Goodwin Ave., Urbana, IL 61801, and Dep. of Crop Sciences, Univ. of Illinois, 1102 S. Goodwin Ave., Urbana, IL 61801
    b Dep. of Animal Sciences, and Division of Nutritional Sciences, Univ. of Illinois, 1207 W. Gregory, Urbana, IL 61801
    c Institute for Genomic Biology, Univ. of Illinois, 1206 W. Gregory, Urbana, IL 61801
    d Illinois State Geological Survey, 1910 Griffith Dr., Champaign, IL 61820
    e Illinois State Water Survey, 2204 Griffith, Champaign, IL 61820
    f Dep. of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences, Univ. of Illinois, 1102 S. Goodwin Ave., Urbana, IL 61801
    g Rowett Research Institute, Greenburn Rd., Bucksburn, Aberdeen AB21 9SB, Scotland, UK


Antibiotics are used in animal livestock production for therapeutic treatment of disease and at subtherapeutic levels for growth promotion and improvement of feed efficiency. It is estimated that approximately 75% of antibiotics are not absorbed by animals and are excreted in waste. Antibiotic resistance selection occurs among gastrointestinal bacteria, which are also excreted in manure and stored in waste holding systems. Land application of animal waste is a common disposal method used in the United States and is a means for environmental entry of both antibiotics and genetic resistance determinants. Concerns for bacterial resistance gene selection and dissemination of resistance genes have prompted interest about the concentrations and biological activity of drug residues and break-down metabolites, and their fate and transport. Fecal bacteria can survive for weeks to months in the environment, depending on species and temperature, however, genetic elements can persist regardless of cell viability. Phylogenetic analyses indicate antibiotic resistance genes have evolved, although some genes have been maintained in bacteria before the modern antibiotic era. Quantitative measurements of drug residues and levels of resistance genes are needed, in addition to understanding the environmental mechanisms of genetic selection, gene acquisition, and the spatiotemporal dynamics of these resistance genes and their bacterial hosts. This review article discusses an accumulation of findings that address aspects of the fate, transport, and persistence of antibiotics and antibiotic resistance genes in natural environments, with emphasis on mechanisms pertaining to soil environments following land application of animal waste effluent.

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Copyright © 2009. American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, Soil Science SocietyAmerican Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, and Soil Science Society of America