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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Antibiotic Transport Via Runoff and Soil Loss

Authors
item Davis, Jessica - COLORADO STATE UNIV
item Truman, Clinton
item Kim, S - COLORADO STATE UNIV
item Ascough, James
item Carlson, K - COLORADO STATE UNIV

Submitted to: Journal of Environmental Quality
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: June 29, 2006
Publication Date: November 1, 2006
Citation: Davis, J.G., Truman, C.C., Kim, S.C., Ascough II, J.C., Carlson, K. 2006. Antibiotic transport via runoff and soil loss. Journal of Environmental Quality. 35:2250-2260.

Interpretive Summary: Antibiotics associated with manure applications are transported from agricultural fields to off-site surface water. We quantified the transport characteristics of antibiotics from agricultural fields where manure or effluent was applied. Our hypothesis was that there would be significant differences in 1) the partitioning of antibiotic losses between runoff and sediment due to antibiotic class (or intrinsic characteristics), and 2) measured pseudo-partitioning coefficients among antibiotics from an agricultural field setting and those observed in a local river. The antibiotics tetracycline (TC), chlortetracycline (CTC), sulfathiazole (STZ), sulfamethazine (SMZ), erythromycin (ERY), tylosin (TYL), and monensin (MNS) were sprayed on the soil surface 1 h prior to rainfall simulation (intensity=60 mm/h for 1 h). Runoff samples were collected continuously and analyzed for aqueous and sediment antibiotic concentrations. Macrolides (ERY and TYL) had the highest sediment concentrations and percent loss associated with sediment, tetracyclines (TC and CTC) had the lowest aqueous and sediment concentrations, ionophores (MNS) had the highest aqueous concentrations and highest amounts of loss, and sulfonamides (STZ and SMZ) had low sediment concentrations but relatively high aqueous concentrations. Antibiotics associated with manures/effluents are susceptible to transport from their application site by runoff and sediment. Management practices that control runoff and sedimentation losses should reduce antibiotic losses to surface water.

Technical Abstract: Research has verified the occurrence of veterinary antibiotics in manure, agricultural fields, and surface waters, yet no research has evaluated transport of antibiotics from agricultural fields. We quantified the transportability of antibiotics from agricultural fields where manure or effluent is applied. Our hypothesis was that there would be significant differences in 1) the partitioning of antibiotic losses between runoff and sediment due to antibiotic class (or intrinsic characteristics), and 2) measured pseudo-partitioning coefficients among antibiotics from an agricultural field setting and those observed in a local river. An antibiotic solution including tetracycline (TC), chlortetracycline (CTC), sulfathiazole (STZ), sulfamethazine (SMZ), erythromycin (ERY), tylosin (TYL), and monensin (MNS) was sprayed on the soil surface 1 h prior to rainfall simulation (target intensity=60 mm/h for 1 h). Runoff samples were collected continuously and analyzed for aqueous and sediment antibiotic concentrations. Macrolides (ERY and TYL) had the highest sediment concentrations and percent loss associated with sediment, tetracyclines (TC and CTC) had the lowest aqueous and sediment concentrations, ionophores (MNS) had the highest aqueous concentrations and highest amounts of loss, and sulfonamides (STZ and SMZ) had low sediment concentrations but relatively high aqueous concentrations. If agricultural runoff is proven to result in environmental contamination, then erosion control practices should reduce macrolide losses leaving agricultural fields, but other methods will need to be developed to reduce sulfonamides and ionophores transport.

Last Modified: 4/16/2014
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