Fate of antimicrobials and nutrients in dairy manure management systems
Schueler, Jenna E
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Anaerobic digestion (AD) and composting manure management strategies were explored at the field scale to monitor antimicrobial degradation, nutrient transformations, and optimize mitigation of these pollutants in manure fertilizer to decrease their entry to waterways. Removal of antimicrobials and antimicrobial resistance genes (ARGs) were explored at the bench scale, where AD degraded >85% of antimicrobials. At the field-scale, antimicrobials were not consistently removed, persisting in concentrations up to 34,000 ng/g DW in the AD effluent. The tetM genes were reduced during bench-scale AD suggesting that AD could be an effective treatment for removing tetracycline ARGs from manure. The 100% reduction of sulfadimethoxine antimicrobials during AD did not correspond with Sul1 reduction, illustrating differences in antimicrobial versus gene reductions during manure treatment. Antimicrobials did not degrade significantly during field scale composting, likely due to a shortened composting period (33-days). The field-scale results illuminate limitations of tracking antimicrobials in complex treatment systems.