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Dissipation of antimicrobials in a seasonally-frozen soil following beef cattle manure application

Amarakoon, I.D., Sura, S., Zvomuya, F., Cessna, A.J., Larney, F.J., and McAllister, T.A. 2016. Dissipation of antimicrobials in a seasonally-frozen soil following beef cattle manure application. J. Environ. Qual. 45: 1644–1651.


Land application of manure containing antimicrobials results in the dispersion of the antimicrobials in agro-ecosystems. Dissipation of excreted antimicrobials in seasonally frozen agricultural soils has not been fully characterized under field conditions. This study investigated the field dissipation kinetics of chlortetracycline, sulfamethazine, and tylosin over a 10-mo period after fall application of manure from cattle (Bos taurus) administered 44 mg chlortetracycline (chlortetracycline treatment [CTC]), 44 mg each of chlortetracycline and sulfamethazine (CTCSMZ), or 11 mg tylosin per kg feed daily. Antimicrobial concentrations in manured soil reflected the same relative concentrations in manure: chlortetracycline > sulfamethazine > tylosin. The first-order dissipation half-life (DT50) for chlortetracycline from the CTCSMZ treatment was 77 d during the growing season and 648 d during the nongrowing season when the soil was frozen for an extended period. By comparison, dissipation of chlortetracycline added alone (treatment CTC) did not differ significantly between the two seasons (mean DT50, 121 d). During the nongrowing season, chlortetracycline from CTC dissipated faster (P = 0.004) than that from the CTCSMZ treatment, indicating that the presence of sulfamethazine may have altered the dissipation of chlortetracycline. Dissipation kinetics for sulfamethazine and tylosin were not determined due to low detection in the manure-amended soil. Sulfamethazine was detected (up to 16 ± 10 µg kg−1) throughout the 10-mo monitoring period. Tylosin concentration was ≤11 ± 6.6 µg kg−1 and gradually dissipated. Chlortetracycline was detectable 10 mo after application in the seasonally frozen soil, indicating a risk for residue build-up in the soil and subsequent offsite contamination.

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