Decline in extractable antibiotics in manure-based composts during composting

K. R. Kim, G. Owens, Y. S. Ok, W. K. Park, D. B. Lee, S. I. Kwon

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114 Citations (Scopus)


A wide variety of antibiotics have been detected in natural water samples and this is of potential concern because of the adverse environmental effects of such antibiotic residues. One of the main sources of antibiotics effluence to the surrounding environment is livestock manures which often contain elevated concentrations of veterinary antibiotics (VAs) which survive digestion in the animal stomach following application in animal husbandry practices. In Korea, livestock manures are normally used for compost production indicating that there is potential for antibiotic release to the environment through compost application to agricultural lands. Therefore, reduction of the amount of VAs in composts is crucial. The purpose of this study was to understand the influence of the composting process and the components of the compost on the levels of three common classes of antibiotics (tetracyclines, sulfonamides, and macrolides). Composted materials at different stages of composting were collected from compost manufacturing plants and the variation in antibiotic concentrations was determined. Three different antibiotics, chlortetracycline (CTC), sulfamethazine (SMZ), and tylosin (TYL) at three different concentrations (2, 10, and 20mgkg -1) were also applied to a mixture of pig manure and sawdust and the mixtures incubated using a laboratory scale composting apparatus to monitor the changes in antibiotic concentrations during composting together with the physicochemical properties of the composts. During composting, in both field and lab-scale investigations, the concentrations of all three different antibiotics declined below the relevant Korean guideline values (0.8mgkg -1 for tetracyclines, 0.2mgkg -1 for sulfonamides and 1.0mgkg -1 for macrolides). The decline of tetracycline and sulfonamide concentrations was highly dependent on the presence of sawdust while there was no influence of sawdust on TYL decline.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)110-116
Number of pages7
JournalWaste Management
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Jan
Externally publishedYes


  • Chlortetracycline
  • Compost
  • Manure
  • Sulfamethazine
  • Tylosin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Waste Management and Disposal


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