Measuring the occurrence of antibiotics in surface water adjacent to cattle grazing areas using passive samplers

Nasrin Naderi Beni, Daniel D. Snow, Elaine D. Berry, Aaron R. Mittelstet, Tiffany L. Messer, Shannon Bartelt-Hunt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


A wide variety of antibiotics and other pharmaceuticals are used in livestock production systems and residues passed to the environment, often unmetabolized, after use and excretion. Antibiotic residues may be transported from manure-treated soils via runoff and are also capable of reaching surface and groundwater systems through a variety of pathways. The occurrence and persistence of antibiotics in the environment is a concern due to the potential for ecological effects and proliferation of environmental antibiotic resistance in pathogenic organisms. In the present study, the occurrence and seasonal variation of 24 commonly-used veterinary antibiotics was evaluated in surface water adjacent to several livestock production systems using Polar Organic Chemical Integrative Samplers (POCIS). Uptake rates for all compounds, nine of which have not been previously reported, were measured in the laboratory to permit estimation of changes in the time-weighted average (TWA) antibiotic concentrations during exposure. The antibiotics detected in POCIS extracts included sulfadimethoxine, sulfamethoxazole, trimethoprim, sulfamerazine, sulfadiazine, lincomycin, erythromycin, erythromycin anhydro- and monensin. The maximum TWA concentration belonged to sulfadiazine (25 ng/L) in the August–September sampling period and coincided with the highest number of precipitation events. With the exception of monensin that showed an increase in concentration over the stream path, none of the detected antibiotics were prescribed to livestock at the facility. The detection of antibiotics not prescribed by the facility may be attributable to the environmental persistence of previously used antibiotics, transfer by wind from other nearby livestock production sites or industrial uses, and/or the natural production of some antibiotics.

Original languageEnglish
Article number138296
JournalScience of the Total Environment
StatePublished - Jul 15 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Elsevier B.V.


  • Antibiotics
  • Field sampling
  • Passive sampling
  • Surface water

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution


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