AB: The use of antibiotics at concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) for disease prevention, disease treatment, and growth promotion can contribute to the spread of antibiotic compounds, their breakdown products, and antibiotic resistant bacteria and/or the genes that confer resistance. In addition, constitutive use of antibiotics at sub-therapeutic levels can select for antibiotic resistance among the bacteria that inhabit animal intestinal tracts, onsite manure treatment facilities, and any environments receiving significant inputs of manure (e.g. through waste lagoon leakage or fertilizer amendments to farm soils). If the antibiotic resistant organisms persist in these new environments, or if they participate in genetic exchanges with the native microflora, then CAFOs may constitute a significant reservoir for the spread of antibiotic resistance to the environment at large. Our results have demonstrated that leakage from waste treatment lagoons can influence the presence and persistence of tetracycline resistance genes in the shallow aquifer adjacent to swine CAFOs, and molecular phylogeny allowed us to distinguish "native" tetracycline resistance genes in control groundwater wells from manure-associated genes introduced from the lagoon. We have also been able to detect the presence of erythromycin resistance genes in CAFO surface and groundwater even though erythromycin is strictly reserved for use in humans and thus is not utilized at any of these sites. Ongoing research, including modeling of particle transport in groundwater, will help to determine the potential spatial and temporal extent of CAFO-derived antibiotic resistance.
|Original language||English (US)|
|State||Published - 2008|