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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Mississippi State, Mississippi » Crop Science Research Laboratory » Genetics and Sustainable Agriculture Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #241522

Title: Biosolids and manure: Antibiotic resistant bacteria and endotoxin

item Brooks, John

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/26/2009
Publication Date: 7/26/2009
Citation: Brooks, J.P. 2009. Biosolids and Manure: Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria and Endotoxin [abstract]. Proceedings Water Environment Microconstituents in Industrial Water Quality Conference. #16B.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Land application of manure and biosolids is a common approach for recapturing and recycling nutrients, moisture, and organic matter present in these residuals, and is currently the most feasible approach to their respective disposals. Although land application of these wastes is common, the presence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, both pathogenic and commensal, can complicate already understood issues associated with its safe disposal. Public health can be compromised by overuse of antibiotics, as has been recently demonstrated with outbreaks of community acquired methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and Clostridium dificile in the U.S. and Europe. The extent to which agricultural industries influence antibiotic resistant infections in humans is largely not understood. The issue is particularly complex due to the realization that any bacterium exposed to antibiotics can potentially harbor resistance. Likewise the ubiquitous nature of Gram negative bacterial-derived endotoxin-type molecules can prove to be a public-health concern as well. Some concerns associated with the practice of biosolids and manure land-application may be due to the presence of lipopolysacharides (endotoxin) typically being aerosolized during this practice. The molecules are present in all environments in which bacteria are present, however it has been theorized and established that a threshold exists in which those exposed will experience pulmonary symptoms such as decreased lung activity to chronic asthma. These concerns have typically been associated with the occupationally exposed, but some off-site public health complaints associated with biosolids land application may be more likely associated with this and other chemical irritants than with aerosolized bacteria or viruses. The aim of this paper was to assess antibiotic resistance in common manure and biosolids in the United States and to present the potential issues associated with endotoxin molecules emanating from land application sites.