Residual antibiotics from aquacultural farming may alter microbial community structure in aquatic environments in ways that may adversely or positively impact microbially-mediated ecological functions. This study investigated 26 ponds (26 composited samples) used to produce fish, razor clam and shrimp (farming and drying) and 2 channels (10 samples) in a saltwater aquacultural farm in southern China to characterize microbial community structure (represented by phospholipid fatty acids) in surface sediments (0-10 cm) with long-term exposure to residual antibiotics. 11 out of 14 widely-used antibiotics were quantifiable at μg kg(-1) levels in sediments but their concentrations did not statistically differ among ponds and channels, except norfloxacin in drying shrimp ponds and thiamphenicol in razor clam ponds. Concentrations of protozoan PLFAs were significantly increased in sediments from razor clam ponds while other microbial groups were similar among ponds and channels. Both canonical-correlation and stepwise-multiple-regression analyses on microbial community and residual antibiotics suggested that roxithromycin residuals were significantly related to shifts in microbial community structure in sediments. This study provided field evidence that multiple residual antibiotics at low environmental levels from aquacultural farming do not produce fundamental shifts in microbial community structure.
Keywords: Microbial community structure; Physicochemical properties; Residual antibiotics; Saltwater aquaculture; Sediments.
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