The veterinary antibiotic doxycycline (DOXY) is today frequently applied in conventional pig husbandry for the control of respiratory diseases. After the treatment, pigs excrete major amounts of DOXY as the unchanged active substance. Thus, DOXY residues were found in liquid manures and digestates of biogas plants at concentrations of mg kg−1 dry weight. In order to assess the impact of field applications of contaminated manures and digestates on the entry of DOXY residues into arable and grassland soils, thorough information about the removal of DOXY during long-term storage of farm fertilizers is required. Since this aspect has been only less investigated for manures but not for digestates, first long-term storage simulation tests were performed at laboratory scale. Within the 170-d incubation periods under strictly anaerobic conditions, doxycycline was removed in liquid pig manure by 61% and in digestate by 76%. The calculated half-lives of 120 d and 91 d thus emphasized the persistence of doxycycline in both matrices. Due to the substance specific properties of DOXY, this removal was caused neither by mineralization, epimerization nor biotransformation. According to the high affinity of DOXY to manure and digestate solids, however, the formation of non-extractable residues has to be taken into account as the predominant concentration determining process. This was indicated by the sequential extraction procedure applied. Hence, these results confirmed that a full removal capacity for doxycycline cannot be reached through the long-term storage of farm fertilizers.
Arum Widyasari-Mehta, Hanna Resti Kartika Ayu Suwito, Robert Kreuzig. Laboratory testing on the removal of the veterinary antibiotic doxycycline during long-term liquid pig manure and digestate storage. Chemosphere. Volume 149, April 2016, Pages 154–160.