Antibiotics used in the livestock industry are released to agricultural fields via grazing animals and manure. From there, they may affect human health due to consumption of antibiotic-exposed crop plants or drinking water. Also they may affect the performance of naturally occurring non-target species. In a recent study published in AoB PLANTS, Minden et al. show that antibiotics, even at low concentrations, significantly affect plant traits. Cropland species showed delayed germination and lower biomass allocation, indicating possible yield-effects in farmland fertilized with manure containing antibiotics. Antibiotics may also alter the composition of plant species in natural field margins, due to different species-specific responses, with unknown consequences for higher trophic levels.
Minden, V., Deloy, A., Volkert, A. M., Leonhardt, S. D., & Pufal, G. (2017). Antibiotics impact plant traits, even at small concentrations. AoB PLANTS, 9(2). http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/aobpla/plx010