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2018 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
The impact of commonly-used livestock antibiotics on soil nitrogen transformations under varying redox conditions is largely unknown. Soil column incubations were conducted using three livestock antibiotics (monensin, lincomycin and sulfamethazine) to better understand the fate of the antibiotics, their effect on nitrogen transformation, and their impact on soil microbial communities under aerobic, anoxic, and denitrifying conditions. While monensin was not recovered in the effluent, lincomycin and sulfamethazine concentrations decreased slightly during transport through the columns. Sorption, and to a limited extent degradation, are likely to be the primary processes leading to antibiotic attenuation during leaching. Antibiotics also affected microbial respiration and clearly impacted nitrogen transformation. The occurrence of the three antibiotics as a mixture, as well as the occurrence of lincomycin alone affected, by inhibiting any nitrite reduction, the denitrification process. Discontinuing antibiotics additions restored microbial denitrification. Metagenomic analysis indicated that Proteobacteria, Bacteroidetes, Actinobacteria, and Chloroflexi were the predominant phyla observed throughout the study. Results suggested that episodic occurrence of antibiotics led to a temporal change in microbial community composition in the upper portion of the columns while only transient changes occurred in the lower portion. Thus, the occurrence of high concentrations of veterinary antibiotic residues could impact nitrogen cycling in soils receiving wastewater runoff or manure applications with potential longer-term microbial community changes possible at higher antibiotic concentrations.