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Antibiotics and antibiotic resistance from animal manures to soil: a review

Xie, W.‐Y., Shen, Q., Zhao, F. J.
European journal of soil science 2018 v.69 no.1 pp. 181-195
animal manures, animal production, animals, antibiotic resistance, antibiotic resistance genes, antibiotics, composted manure, edaphic factors, horizontal gene transfer, industry, production technology, resistance management, ribosomal RNA, risk, soil, veterinary drugs, China
The overuse of veterinary antibiotics in animal production and the subsequent land applications of manures contribute to the elevated antibiotic resistance in the soil environment. To minimize the risk of antibiotic resistance, it is important to understand the fate of antibiotics and the spread of antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs) from animal production systems to soil. In this paper, we review recent studies on veterinary antibiotic use, the concentrations of antibiotics and the abundance and diversity of AGRs in animal manures and in soil that receives manures or manure composts. The mechanisms of ARG dissemination in the environment are also discussed. Although we focus on China where around 3 billion tons of animal manures are produced and more than 84 000 tons of antibiotics are consumed annually in animal production industries, the problem is worldwide. Approximately 58% of the veterinary antibiotics consumed are excreted into the environment, more than half of which end up in the soil. The abundance of ARGs in manures can reach up to 10⁻¹ of the 16S rRNA genes. Applications of manures or manure composts can enrich soil ARGs in at least three ways: (i) by the direct introduction of manure‐derived ARGs, (ii) by elevating the intrinsic soil ARGs and (iii) by imposing a selection of ARGs with the antibiotics in the manures. We also discuss the need for more stringent regulations on the use of veterinary antibiotics and future research directions on the mechanisms of antibiotic resistance and resistance management. HIGHLIGHTS: Soil is a natural reservoir of antibiotics and antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs). Manure applications introduce antibiotics and enrich soil ARGs through different mechanisms. Horizontal gene transfer plays an important role in the spread of ARGs from manures. More stringent regulations are needed to reduce the spread of ARG from animal sources.