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C. Effects on other ecosystems

What are the effects of antibiotic residues on bacterial organisms in soil and water?

Veterinary antibiotics are designed to kill or inhibit bacterial pathogens found in animals and people, but they certainly can also be hazardous to many types of non-targeted environmental microorganisms41.  High “therapeutic” concentrations of antibiotics tend to be quickly lethal to susceptible bacterial strains, providing limited opportunity for selection of subpopulations that have low or intermediate resistant traits.  In contrast, low-level antibiotic concentration as are typically found in soil and water, may be more likely to enable to the selection of resistant environmental microorganisms, thereby fueling the environmental resistant gene pool or “resistome”.  

What are the effects of antibiotic residues on plants and invertebrates?

The overall ecologic impacts of residual antibiotics in the environment are largely unknown.  However, antibiotics have been reported to markedly hurt plant growth and development, causing inhibition of germination, inhibition of root growth and inhibition of shoot growth42.  Residues have also shown toxicity to aquatic organisms such as
freshwater crustacean Daphnia magna43 and Artemia spp. 44.



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