Special Reports

A Probable Cause of Climate Change May Be Farm Superbugs, According To Study


A new study found that droppings filled with antibiotic and microbes that are resistant to antibiotic are not just bad for farms, for your kids' health, but also contribute to climate change.

Farm superbugs and doped-up droppings from livestock can burn through as much as 5.8 times worth of soil carbon stores compared to their undisturbed counterparts. These mircrobes travel through wind, waterways, and meat, which threaten the public health and the environment.

The new study on these farm superbugs is published on the "Proceedings of the Royal Society B," ARS Technica reported. According to the researchers, the use of too much antibiotics on farms cause a molecular arms-races among soil microbes. This is a cause for major concern since global livestock production is increasing at a very fast rate.

The use of antibiotics is seen to increase by 67 percent in the next twenty years, The Royal Society published. Some 80 percent of the antibiotics sold in America go to farms, and the livestock that took in these medications excrete 40 to 95 percent of the drugs they took. These animals also excrete drug-resistant germs.

The research is led by Virginia Tech's Michael Strickland along with a group of agricultural and environmental researchers. They came up with the study after observing soil sample from 11 dairy farms all over the United States. The cows on the farms that were studied ingested cephapirin, a drug that is basically the same with penicilin, to prevent bacterial infections among the livestock.

The researchers ran some tests to determine how active these microbes were. They found out that the doped-up manure had more drug-resistant farm superbugs. This makes microbes more resistant to various types of antibiotics.

The researchers also found out that the high levels of antibiotic resistant genes remain in the farm for two-and-a-half years even after stopping the use of the doped-up manure. The manure from cattle with antibiotics can alter microbial community composition and its ecosystem processes, which alarms the researchers.

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