Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 24, Issue 10, pp 8978–8989 | Cite as

Application of veterinary antibiotics in China’s aquaculture industry and their potential human health risks

  • Wing Yin Mo
  • Zhanting Chen
  • Ho Man Leung
  • Anna Oi Wah LeungEmail author
Eco-aquaculture, sustainable development and public health


China contributes to more than 60 % of the global aquaculture production, and its aquaculture industry has become one of the main players in food security. A large amount of antibiotics is believed to be used in fish cultivation for ensuring adequate production. The use of antibiotics as disease control agents and growth promoter in aquaculture in China has raised significant concerns recently because of the potential threats to human health. The extensive use of antibiotics in aquaculture may result in water and sediment contamination and the development of antibiotic resistance genes. In this review, the role of aquaculture in antibiotic contamination of the environment as well as the emerging concern of antibiotic resistance genes in China is discussed. Based on this review, it has been concluded that more information regarding the types and quantities of antibiotics used by Chinese fish farmers is required. Studies about the contribution of antibiotic usage in aquaculture to environmental levels in surface water, their potential risks on environment and human health, and the existence and spread of antibiotic resistance genes in aquaculture are needed.


Antibiotics Antibiotic resistance genes Aquaculture China Contamination 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wing Yin Mo
    • 1
    • 2
  • Zhanting Chen
    • 1
    • 2
  • Ho Man Leung
    • 2
  • Anna Oi Wah Leung
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Croucher Institute for Environmental SciencesHong Kong Baptist UniversityHong KongChina
  2. 2.Department of BiologyHong Kong Baptist UniversityHong KongChina

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