Investigation of the interaction between the fate of antibiotics in aquafarms and their level in the environment

Yuanhong Zhong, Zhi Feng Chen*, Xiaoxin Dai, Shuang Shuang Liu, Guangming Zheng, Xinping Zhu, Shugui Liu, Yi Yin, Guoguang Liu, Zongwei CAI

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

59 Citations (Scopus)


China is the largest freshwater aquaculture producer and antibiotics consumer in the world, and rivers in China are generally polluted by antibiotics. However, there is little information available regarding the linkage of antibiotics in aquaculture and the aquatic environment. Therefore, this study investigated the fate of antibiotics in several open water culture-based freshwater aquafarms, including integrated livestock/fish systems and non-integrated fish ponds, and explored the contamination profiles of antibiotics in the Beijiang River. Then the study tried to clarify the two-way interaction of antibiotics in aquaculture and the environment. The results showed that, when compared with the effluent from livestock farms and wastewater treatment plants, the contribution of antibiotics from non-integrated fish pond water without livestock sewage input was limited, while that of effluent from the integrated livestock/fish system was quite high. The total concentrations of antibiotics detected in the aquafarm source water were similar to those in the upper river water and generally higher than those in the corresponding fish pond water, implying that the occurrence of antibiotics in intensive aquafarms can mainly be attributed to the antibiotic residues in nearby river water. Overall, the results underscore the need to develop a sewage infrastructure for the treatment of effluent from integrated livestock/fish aquafarms, and suggest that open water culture-based fish farms should be located far from seriously contaminated sections of rivers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)219-229
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Environmental Management
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2018

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

User-Defined Keywords

  • Antibiotic
  • Aquaculture
  • Environment
  • Interaction
  • Risk


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