Study evaluates antibiotic degradation in manure

Composted manure is a good slow release fertilizer with the added benefit of breaking down common antibiotics.

It is estimated about 1.6 million kilograms of antimicrobials are used every year in Canadian livestock. Thirty to 90 percent of the products may be excreted as original compounds or byproducts called metabolites.

Various research projects have shown composting manure reduced the viability of pathogens and antimicrobial residues in the soil.

A multi-year project at Agriculture Canada’s Lethbridge Research Centre tested raw manure, stockpiled manure and compost to see which antibiotics were present, how quickly they degraded and if potential antimicrobial resistant genes appeared in environmental bacteria after these products were spread on cropland.

The overall conclusion was composted manure reduced the concentration of the compounds in the products and any potential environmental impact.

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