Dynamics of oxytetracycline, sulfamerazine, and ciprofloxacin and related antibiotic resistance genes during swine manure composting

Understanding the dynamics of veterinary antibiotic and related antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs) during swine manure composting is crucial in assessing the environmental risk of antibiotics, which could effectively reduce their impact in natural environments. This study investigated the dissipation of oxytetracycline (OTC), sulfamerazine (SM1) and ciprofloxacin (CIP) as well as the behaviour of their corresponding ARGs during swine manure composting. These antibiotics were added at two concentration levels and two different methods of addition (single/mixture). The results indicated that the removal efficiency of antibiotics by composting were ≥85%, except for the single-SM1 treatment. The tetracycline resistance genes (TRGs) encoding ribosomal protection proteins (RPP) and efflux pump (EFP) and fluoroquinolone resistance genes (FRGs) could be effectively removed after 42 days. On the contrary, the TRGs encoding enzymatic inactivation (EI) and sulfonamide resistance genes (SRGs) were enriched up to 31-fold (sul 2 in single-low-SM1). Statistical analyses indicated that the behaviour of these class antibiotics and ARGs were controlled by microbial activity and significantly influenced by environmental factors (mainly C/N, moisture and pH) throughout the composting process.