Antibiotic losses from unprotected manure stockpiles

Holly A Dolliver, Satish C. Gupta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


Manure management is a major concern in livestock production systems. Although historically the primary concerns have been nutrients and pathogens, manure is also a source of emerging contaminants, such as antibiotics, to the environment. There is a growing concern that antibiotics in manure are reaching surface and ground waters and contributing to the development and spread of antibiotic resistance in the environment. One such pathway is through leaching and runoff from manure stockpiles. In this study, we quantified chlortetracycline, monensin, and tylosin losses in runoff from beef manure stockpiles during two separare but consecutive experiments representing different weather conditions (i.e., temperature and precipitation amount and form). Concentrations of chlortetracycline, monensin, and tylosin in runoff were positively correlated with initial concentrations of antibiotics in manure. The highest concentrations of chlortetracycline, monensin, and tylosin in runoff were 210, 3175, and 2544 μg L-1, respectively. Relative antibiotic losses were primarily a function of water losses. In the experiment that had higher runoff water losses, antibiotic losses ranged from 1.2 to 1.8% of total extractable antibiotics in manure. In the experiment with lower runoff water losses, antibiotic losses varied from 0.2 to 0.6% of the total extractable antibiotics in manure. Manure analysis over time suggests that in situ degradation is an important mechanism for antibiotic losses. Degradation losses during manure stockpiling may exceed cumulative losses from runoff events. Storing manure in protected (i.e., covered) facilities could reduce the risk of aquatic contamination associated with manure stockpiling and other outdoor manure management practices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1238-1244
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Environmental Quality
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 2008


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