The effect of antibiotics on the persistence of herbicides in soil under the combined pollution

Chemosphere. 2018 Aug;204:303-309. doi: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2018.04.046. Epub 2018 Apr 10.


Antibiotic contamination in agricultural lands through manure application causes changes in soil enzyme activity and the abundance of microbes, which may affect the fate of agrochemicals. A clear understanding of antibiotic-pesticide interactions is very limited. The objective of this study was to investigate the effect of oxytetracycline (OTC) on the persistence of triazine and chloroacetanilide herbicides in soil under a combined application scenario. Soil enzyme activity and the abundance of soil microbes disturbed by OTC were measured. The results showed that OTC inhibited the dissipation of the herbicides and the effect depended on OTC concentration. For example, the half-lives of acetochlor increased from 6.9 days to 21.6 days with the presence of OTC at 50 mg/kg. It was also found the dissipation of the herbicides would still be affected after a month of OTC exposure at high concentration. Co-application also decreased activity of soil urease, dehydrogenase and catalase during earlier incubation periods, then recovered gradually. Furthermore, OTC reduced the abundance of fungi and bacteria, which might relate to inhibition of herbicide dissipation. Co-application of antibiotics and herbicides resulted in greater herbicide persistence, possibly increasing risk of environmental contamination.

Keywords: Combined pollution; Herbicide; Oxytetracycline; Persistence.

MeSH terms

  • Agriculture / methods
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology*
  • Bacteria / drug effects
  • Fungi / drug effects
  • Herbicides / analysis
  • Herbicides / chemistry*
  • Herbicides / pharmacology
  • Manure / analysis
  • Oxytetracycline / pharmacology*
  • Soil / chemistry*
  • Soil Pollutants / analysis*
  • Urease / metabolism


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Herbicides
  • Manure
  • Soil
  • Soil Pollutants
  • Urease
  • Oxytetracycline