Nitrogen and phosphorus are not the only potential water pollutants associated with animal manure. Pathogens in animal manure are a concern in many regions of the U. S. All animals including pets, livestock, wildlife and humans are possible hosts of human pathogens with multiple confirmed outbreaks of human illness traced to each of these sources.
Antibiotics and Hormones Risk
While pathogens-related risks from animal manure are real and well documented, more questions than answers currently exist as to the environmental risks of antibiotics and hormones from animal manure. Hormones in aquatic environments can be the cause of reduced fish populations and deformities because of disrupted endocrine systems.
Recently antibiotic use in livestock has become a focus of research efforts to determine the potential contribution to antibiotic resistant bacteria in the environment. Both natural and administered (e.g. implants) hormones are targets of public scrutiny and the basis of several research initiatives.
For more information on emerging pollutants from animal manure, we recommend the following resources and regional collaborative Web sites that provide factual science-based information:
Web cast* from UNL Extension: Hormones from Animal Feeding Operations and Water Quality.
Livestock and Poultry Environmental Learning Center National "Best of the Best" educational and research resources from land grant Universities including Nebraska; U.S. EPA, and USDA.
- Webcast* presentations on pathogens: "Should We Be Concerned?" and "Minimizing Risk of Pathogens in Animal Manure"* Contain the state of the science on antibiotic and hormone risks associated with animal manure.
- Fact Sheets series
* Web-based learning archived from previous audio / video conference.
Information presented within the livestock manure management section of this Water Web site has been authored and/or reviewed by University of Nebraska-Lincoln Manure Management Team members Leslie Johnson, Rick Koelsch, Charles Shapiro and Charles Wortmann.