The presence of tetracyclines and sulfonamides in swine feeds and feces: dependence on the antibiotic type and swine growth stages

Abstract

Swine farms are one of the important sources of antibiotics in the environment. In this study, 42 samples of compound feed and feces of swine collected at different growth stages from intensive farms were evaluated for the occurrence and concentrations of three tetracyclines (TCs, namely oxytetracycline, chlortetracycline, and doxycycline) and three sulfonamides (SAs, namely sulfadiazine, sulfadimidine, and sulfamethoxazole). To check for other additional sources of antibiotic administration, ratios (R) of the measured and the predicted levels of each antibiotic excreted via feces were also estimated. Our results showed that the maximum concentration of TCs was 376,210 μg kg−1 and 541,020 μg kg−1 in the feeds and feces, respectively, both for oxytetracycline. In contrast, the highest concentration of SAs were 16.98 μg kg−1 for sulfadimidine in the feeds and 14.70 μg kg−1 for sulfadiazine in the feces. The concentrations of ΣTCs (sum of the three tetracyclines) in swine feeds and feces were found to be 1–4 orders of magnitude higher than those of ΣSAs (sum of the three sulfonamides). Approximately 36% of the R values were found to be greater than one, indicating other sources of administration such as injection and/or oral administration (via drinking water) may also contribute to the presence of antibiotics in feces. Most of the higher R values were found in starter pigs, which were generally administrated with antibiotics by multiple routes to prevent disease and promote swine growth. Our study suggests that comprehensive measures may be undertaken to control antibiotic use in intensive swine farms.

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Funding

This work was financially supported by the National Key Research and Development Program of China (2017YFD0801403), the Construction Project of Science and Technology Innovation Capacity of the Beijing Academy of Agriculture and Forestry Sciences (KJCX20180407), and the Beijing Natural Science Foundation (8182021).

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Correspondence to Helian Li.

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Xu, M., Li, H., Li, S. et al. The presence of tetracyclines and sulfonamides in swine feeds and feces: dependence on the antibiotic type and swine growth stages. Environ Sci Pollut Res (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-020-10266-5

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Keywords

  • Swine farms
  • Feeds
  • Feces
  • Antibiotic levels
  • Tetracyclines
  • Sulfonamides