Veterinary antimicrobial agents have been detected in a number of environmental samples, including agricultural soils. In this study, we investigated the persistence and sorption of the sulfonamides sulfamethazine (SMZ) and sulfachloropyridine (SCP) in soil and their potential effects on soil microorganisms. The sulfonamides dissipated more rapidly from the silt loam soil as compared to the sandy soil. Average half-lives of SMZ and SPC among the two soils were 18.6 and 21.3 days, respectively. The presence of liquid swine slurry (5% v/w) decreased sulfonamide persistence in the silt loam soil. The lower persistence of the antimicrobials in liquid swine slurry-amended soil was likely due to higher microbial activity, as compared to unamended soil, and/or to the greater bioavailability of the sulfonamides to degrading microorganisms, as estimated by sorption isotherms. Concentrations of SMZ and SPC up to 100 μg g-1 had no effect on antimicrobial degradation rates and soil microorganisms. These studies suggest that higher sulfonamide concentrations would be necessary to affect the main processes controlling their environmental fates in soil, but at the concentrations normally found in the environment, there would be little or no effects.
- Soil degradation
- Soil microbial community structure
- Veterinary pharmaceuticals