Dissemination of veterinary antibiotics and corresponding resistance genes from a concentrated swine feedlot along the waste treatment paths

Environ Int. Jul-Aug 2016;92-93:317-23. doi: 10.1016/j.envint.2016.04.020. Epub 2016 Apr 26.


Swine feedlots are an important pollution source of antibiotics and antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs) to the environment. This study investigated the dissemination of two classes of commonly-used veterinary antibiotics, namely, tetracyclines (TCs) and sulfonamides (SAs), and their corresponding ARGs along the waste treatment paths from a concentrated swine feedlot located in Beijing, China. The highest total TC and total SA concentrations detected were 166.7mgkg(-1) and 64.5μgkg(-1) in swine manure as well as 388.7 and 7.56μgL(-1) in swine wastewater, respectively. Fourteen tetracycline resistance genes (TRGs) encoding ribosomal protection proteins (RPP), efflux proteins (EFP) and enzymatic inactivation proteins, three sulfonamide resistance genes (SRGs), and two integrase genes were detected along the waste treatment paths with detection frequencies of 33.3-75.0%. The relative abundances of target ARGs ranged from 2.74×10(-6) to 1.19. The antibiotics and ARGs generally declined along both waste treatment paths, but their degree of reduction was more significant along the manure treatment path. The RPP TRGs dominated in the upstream samples and then decreased continuously along both waste treatment paths, whilst the EFP TRGs and SRGs maintained relatively stable. Strong correlations between antibiotic concentrations and ARGs were observed among both manure and wastewater samples. In addition, seasonal temperature, and integrase genes, moisture content and nutrient level of tested samples could all impact the relative abundances of ARGs along the swine waste treatment paths. This study helps understand the evolution and spread of ARGs from swine feedlots to the environment as well as assess the environmental risk arising from swine waste treatment.

Keywords: Antibiotic resistance genes; Sulfonamides; Swine feedlot; Tetracyclines; Waste treatment.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / chemistry*
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology*
  • Bacteria / genetics*
  • Beijing
  • China
  • Drug Resistance, Microbial / genetics
  • Environment
  • Environmental Monitoring
  • Genes, Bacterial
  • Manure / analysis
  • Swine
  • Waste Disposal, Fluid*
  • Waste Water / chemistry*
  • Waste Water / microbiology*
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Manure
  • Waste Water
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical