Review on the fate of antimicrobials, antimicrobial resistance genes, and other micropollutants in manure during enhanced anaerobic digestion and composting


While manure has been used as nutrient-rich fertilizer for centuries, anaerobic digestion (AD) of manure has only been recognized recently as a promising renewable energy source for producing methane-rich biogas. Various forms of AD have been evaluated for the removal of manure contaminants, such as antimicrobials, antimicrobial resistance genes (ARGs), hormones, and pesticides that pose risks to human health and the environment. Increasing demand for cleaner energy prompts examination of the fate of manure contaminants in conventional and advanced AD techniques. This review reveals that removal of contaminants differs based on type (e.g. antimicrobials vs hormones) or class (e.g. tetracyclines vs sulfonamides) of chemicals being treated. Increasingly, pre-treatment techniques are incorporated into AD systems to enhance biogas production and degrade manure contaminants. For instance, activated carbon with microwave pretreatment removed 87-95% of ARGs. Advanced anaerobic digestion and solid-state anaerobic digestion reduced various ARGs associated with sulfonamides, macrolides, and tetracyclines. Further, total hormone reduction improved using high-temperature pretreatment prior to mesophilic AD. Finally, several studies revealed partial removal of antimicrobials and ARGs during managed composting. Although AD can independently decrease manure contaminants prior to use as fertilizer, augmenting AD with composting and other physical treatment processes can further enhance their removal.

Authors: Jena L Congilosi, Diana S Aga
; Full Source: Journal of hazardous materials 2020 Aug 14;123634. doi: 10.1016/j.jhazmat.2020.123634.