Quinolone Antibiotics in Soils from Organic Vegetable Farms in China

Abstract: Organic fertilizer or manure containing antibiotics has been widely used in organic farms, but the distribution and potential impacts of antibiotics to the local environment are not well understood. In this study, four quinolone antibiotics in soil samples (n = 69) from five organic vegetable farms in a subtropical city, Southern China, were analyzed using high performance liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry. Our results indicated that quinolone compounds were ubiquitous in soil samples (detection frequency > 97% for all compounds), and their concentrations ranged from not detectable to 42.0 mu g/kg. Among the targets, enrofloxacin (ENR) was the dominant compound, followed by ciprofloxacin (CIP) and norfloxacin (NOR). The average total concentrations of four compounds in the soils were affected by vegetable types and species cultivated, decreasing in the order of fruit > rhizome > leaf vegetables. Moreover, the average concentrations of quinolone compounds (except ENR) in open-field soils were higher than those in greenhouse soils. The concentrations of quinolone antibiotics in this study were lower than the ecotoxic effect trigger value (100 mu g/kg) proposed by the Veterinary Medicine International Coordination commission. Risk assessment based on the calculated risk quotients indicated that NOR, CIP, and ENR posed mainly medium to low risks to bacteria. (C) 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Reference: Wu, X. L., et al. (2014). Distribution and risk assessment of quinolone antibiotics in the soils from organic vegetable farms of a subtropical city, Southern China. Science of the Total Environment 487: 399-406. Available online at http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2014.04.015