State Water Resources Research Institute Program

Project ID: 2007NC76B
Title: Antibiotic Resistance and Water Quality: Land Application of Swine Lagoon Effluent as a Potential Source of Antibiotic Resistant Genes in Surface Water
Project Type: Research
Start Date: 3/01/2007
End Date: 2/28/2009
Congressional District: 2
Focus Categories: Water Quality, Agriculture
Keywords: Swine Waste, Bacteria, Irrigation, Lagoons, Water Quality
Principal Investigators: Graves, Alexandria ; Israel, Daniel
Federal Funds: $ 13,357
Non-Federal Matching Funds: $ 46,625
Abstract: The use of antibiotics in animals is suspected to be a major route of the transference of antibiotic resistant bacteria to humans, even when different antibiotics are used in animals than in people. Mathematical models have been used to evaluate the medical impacts of simultaneously using the same antibiotic in food animals and human medicine. Analysis from the mathematical models demonstrates that animal antibiotic use may hasten the appearance of antibiotic resistance and decrease the efficacy of antibiotic used in humans. A number or reports have specifically linked antibiotic use in livestock with the spread of antibiotic resistant pathogenic bacterial to humans. North Carolina is the home of our Nation's second largest swine industry. Most of this swine production is restricted to a small geographical area in southeastern North Carolina. This high concentration of swine production may increase the risk of antibiotic resistant bacteria from swine operations reaching the nearby surface waters. If antibiotic resistance and the presence of antibiotic resistant genes are occurring at an elevated level in swine waste, then it logically follows that antibiotic resistant genes found in bacteria are potentially discharged during land application of swine lagoon effluent and have the potential to reach nearby surface waters. The goal of this study is to evaluate the association of antibiotic resistance genes found in E.coli isolated from swine with the actual phenotypic expression of the resistance. Additionally to develop an antibiotic resistance database for E. coli isolates from a commercial swine facility and assess its efficacy for tracking movement of bacteria from swine confinement houses to surface waters. The appearance of swine-manure derived bacteria in shallow groundwater near the stream or in the stream would document the need for improved mitigation strategies. To establish that swine manure-derived bacteria are discharged to surface waters, source tracking methods will be used.

Progress/Completion Report, PDF

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