Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 22, Issue 8, pp 5908–5918 | Cite as

Residues and potential ecological risks of veterinary antibiotics in manures and composts associated with protected vegetable farming

  • Haibo Zhang
  • Yongming LuoEmail author
  • Longhua Wu
  • Yujuan Huang
  • Peter Christie
Research Article


Veterinary antibiotics (VAs) are emerging contaminants and enter into soil principally by agricultural application of organic fertilizer. A total of 33 solid animal manures and 17 compost samples from protected vegetable farms in nine areas of China were analyzed for the antibiotic classes of tetracyclines, fluoroquinolones, sulfonamides, and macrolides (17 substances in total). Oxytetracycline was found as a dominant compound in the samples, and its highest concentration reached 416.8 mg kg−1 in a chicken manure sample from Shouguang, Shandong Province. Among the samples, animal manures (especially pig manure) contained higher VA residues than composts. However, fluoroquinolones exhibited higher persistence in the compost samples than other antibiotic classes. This is particularly the case in the rice husk compost, which contained the highest level of ofloxacin and ciprofloxacin (1334.5 and 1717.4 μg kg−1 on average, respectively). The veterinary antibiotic profile in the risk husk compost had a good relationship with that in the corresponding manures. The refined commercial compost had the lowest VA residues among the compost samples in general. This implied that composting process might be important to reduce the antibiotic residue. High residue of antibiotics in soil was assumed to be a hazard to ecosystem. This is especially noticeable under current application rates (150 t ha−1 a−1) in protected vegetable farming because over half of the samples exhibited a risk quotient (RQ) >1 for one or more antibiotics.


Veterinary antibiotics Manures Composts Ecological risk 



Veterinary antibiotics










































Refined commercial compost


Rice husk compost


Soybean meal compost



This research was supported financially by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (41371313 and 41230858) and the R&D Special Fund for Public Welfare Industry (Environment) (201109018-4). We appreciate the two anonymous reviewers for their comments on the paper’s revision.

Supplementary material

11356_2014_3731_MOESM1_ESM.docx (2.1 mb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 2128 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Haibo Zhang
    • 1
  • Yongming Luo
    • 1
    Email author
  • Longhua Wu
    • 2
  • Yujuan Huang
    • 2
  • Peter Christie
    • 3
  1. 1.Yantai Institute of Coastal Zone ResearchChinese Academy of SciencesYantaiChina
  2. 2.Key Laboratory of Soil Environment and Pollution Remediation, Institute of Soil ScienceChinese Academy of SciencesNanjingChina
  3. 3.Agri-Food and Biosciences InstituteBelfastUK

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