Use of antibiotics is under heightened scrutiny due to the increased prevalence of antibiotic-resistant pathogens.
Use of antibiotics is under heightened scrutiny due to the increased prevalence of antibiotic-resistant pathogens. While the primary focus is on more stringent use of antibiotics in medical settings, the use of antibiotics in the livestock sector is gaining increased attention.
A new study led by Colorado State University and the University of Idaho found multiple effects on soils from exposure to manure from cows administered antibiotics, including alteration of the soil microbiome and ecosystem functions, soil respiration and elemental cycling.
The team also saw changes in how plants allocate carbon below ground and take up nitrogen from the soil. In addition, they observed a decrease in ecosystem carbon use efficiency. This means that when antibiotics are used, less carbon is stored in the soil and more is lost to the atmosphere as carbon dioxide.
The study, “Prolonged exposure to manure from livestock-administered antibiotics decreases ecosystem carbon-use efficiency and alters nitrogen cycling,” is published Oct. 9 in Ecology Letters.
Read more at Colorado State University
Image: For the study, researchers analyzed ecosystems exposed to manure from cattle given no antibiotics and manure from cattle given a common antibiotic, as well as a control sample not exposed to manure. (Credit: Carl Wepking/CSU)