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The Strathprints institutional repository is a digital archive of University of Strathclyde's Open Access research outputs. Strathprints provides access to thousands of Open Access research papers by Strathclyde researchers, including by researchers from the European Policies Research Centre (EPRC).

EPRC is a leading institute in Europe for comparative research on public policy, with a particular focus on regional development policies. Spanning 30 European countries, EPRC research programmes have a strong emphasis on applied research and knowledge exchange, including the provision of policy advice to EU institutions and national and sub-national government authorities throughout Europe.

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Abundance of six tetracycline resistance genes in wastewater lagoons at cattle feedlots with different antibiotic use strategies

Peak, Nicholas and Knapp, Charles W. and Yang, Richard K. and Hanfelt, Margery M. and Smith, Marilyn S. and Aga, Diana S. and Graham, David W. (2007) Abundance of six tetracycline resistance genes in wastewater lagoons at cattle feedlots with different antibiotic use strategies. Environmental Microbiology, 9 (1). pp. 143-151.

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Abstract

The abundance of six tetracycline resistance genes tet(O), tet(Q), tet(W), tet(M), tet(B) and tet(L), were quantified over time in wastewater lagoons at concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFO) to assess how feedlot operation affects resistance genes in downstream surface waters. Eight lagoons at five cattle feedlots in the Midwestern United States were monitored for 6 months. Resistance and 16S-rRNA gene abundances were quantified using real-time PCR, and physicochemical lagoon conditions, tetracycline levels, and other factors (e.g. feedlot size and weather conditions) were monitored over time. Lagoons were sorted according to antibiotic use practice at each site, and designated as 'no-use', 'mixed-use' or 'high-use' for comparison. High-use lagoons had significantly higher detected resistance gene levels (tet(R); 2.8 x 10(6) copies ml(-1)) relative to no-use lagoons (5.1 x 10(3) copies ml(-1); P < 0.01) and mixed-use lagoons (7.3 x 10(5) copies ml(-1); P = 0.076). Bivariate correlation analysis on pooled data (n = 54) confirmed that tet(R) level strongly correlated with feedlot area (r = 0.67, P < 0.01) and 'total' bacterial 16S-rRNA gene level in each lagoon (r = 0.51, P < 0.01), which are both characteristic of large CAFOs. tet(M) was the most commonly detected gene, both in absolute number and normalized to 16S-rRNA gene level, although tet(O), tet(Q) and tet(W) levels were also high in the mixed and high-use lagoons. Finally, resistance gene levels were highly seasonal with abundances being 10-100 times greater in the autumn versus the summer. Results show that antibiotic use strategy strongly affects both the abundance and seasonal distribution of resistance genes in associated lagoons, which has implications on water quality and feedlot management practices.