Biological Systems Engineering, Department of


Document Type


Date of this Version



Environmental Science and Technology. 54.4800-4809.

doi 10.1021/acs.est.9b04834


US govt author


The environmental spread of antibiotics and antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs) from the land application of livestock wastes can be a potential public health threat. The objective of this study was to assess the effects of setback distance, which determines how close manure may be applied in relation to surface water, on the transport of antibiotics and ARGs in runoff and soil following land application of swine manure slurry. Rainfall simulation tests were conducted on field plots covered with wheat residues, each of which contained an upslope manure region where slurry was applied and an adjacent downslope setback region that did not receive slurry. Results show that all three antibiotics (chlortetracycline, lincomycin, and tiamulin) and seven out of the ten genes tested (erm(B), erm(C), intI1, tet(O), tet(Q), tet(X), and the 16S rRNA gene) decreased significantly in runoff with increased setback distance. Only blaTEM, chlortetracycline, and tiamulin decreased significantly in surface soil with increased setback distance, while the other analytes did not exhibit statistically significant trends. By using linear regression models with field data, we estimate that a setback distance between 34−67 m may allow manure-borne antibiotics and ARGs in runoff to reach background levels under the experimental conditions tested.

Includes Supplemental file.