Antibiotics in the agricultural soils from the Yangtze River Delta, China

Jianteng Sun, Qingtao Zeng, Daniel C.W. Tsang, L. Z. Zhu, Xiangdong Li

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

157 Citations (Scopus)


Antibiotics were detected in all the 241 soil samples (i.e., 100% detection rate) with the total concentrations ranging from 4.55 to 2,010 ng/g dry weight. The concentrations of three antibiotic classes decreased in the order: quinolones (mean 48.8 ng/g) > tetracyclines (mean 34.9 ng/g) > sulfonamides (mean 2.35 ng/g). Ciprofloxacin was the prevalent compound with a mean concentration of 27.7 ng/g, followed by oxytetracycline (mean of 18.9 ng/g). A distinct spatial distribution was observed, where high concentrations of antibiotics were detected in the sites adjacent to the livestock and poultry farms. The potential sources of antibiotics in the agricultural soils were the application of manure and wastewater irrigation in this region. Risk assessment for single antibiotic compound indicated that tetracyclines and quinolones could pose a potential risk, in which doxycycline and ciprofloxacin had the most severe ecological effect in the agricultural soils. Antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs), such as tetA, sulI, and qnrS, were detected in 15 analyzed soil samples, and sulI showed significant correlations with quinolones, tetracyclines, copper, and zinc. Further studies on the distribution of other ARGs in agricultural soil at a region-scale are needed for the risk management of extensively used antibiotics and major ARGs.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)301-308
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2017


  • Agricultural soil
  • Antibiotics
  • Risk assessment
  • Spatial distribution
  • Yangtze river delta

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • Environmental Chemistry


Dive into the research topics of 'Antibiotics in the agricultural soils from the Yangtze River Delta, China'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this