Modeling the vertical transport of antibiotic resistance genes in agricultural soils following manure application

Renys E. Barrios, Shannon L. Bartelt-Hunt, Yusong Li, Xu Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs) may be introduced to agricultural soil through the land application of cattle manure. During a rainfall event, manure-borne ARGs may infiltrate into subsurface soil and leach into groundwater. The objective of this study was to characterize and model the vertical transport of manure-borne ARGs through soil following the land application of beef cattle manure on soil surface. In this study, soil column experiments were conducted to evaluate the influence of manure application on subsurface transport of four ARGs: erm(C), erm(F), tet(O) and tet(Q). An attachment-detachment model with the decay of ARGs in the soil was used to simulate the breakthrough of ARGs in leachates from the control column (without manure) and treatment (with manure) soil columns. Results showed that the first-order attachment coefficient (ka) was five to six orders of magnitude higher in the treatment column than in the control column. Conversely, the first-order detachment and decay coefficients (kd and μs) were not significantly changed due to manure application. These findings suggest that in areas where manure is land-applied, some manure-borne bacteria-associated ARGs will be attached to the soil, instead of leaching to groundwater in near terms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number117480
JournalEnvironmental Pollution
StatePublished - Sep 15 2021


  • Antibiotic resistance genes
  • Manure application
  • Soil column
  • Vertical transport

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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