DOI: /10.5513/JCEA01/20.1.2045

Review article

The effect and accumulation of antibiotics and their residues in horticultural plants: a review

2019, 20 (1)   p. 431-446

Such Nikoletta, Ferenc Husveth, Aliz Marton, Ilona Koltay, Zita Szoko, Karoly Dublecz


Antibiotics have been used in the agriculture in large quantities since they were discovered. In animal husbandry these compounds are used not only to do treatment for sick animals but for prevention of diseases and also for growth promotion. The extreme usage of these antibiotics led to increasing numbers of antibiotic resistant bacteria. Today it is a danger that is considered very seriously worldwide. In the European Union, the usage of antibiotics as growth promoter is forbidden since 2006, but according to different statistics collected by administration departments there are big differences in antibiotics usage among EU countries. The antibiotics that are used in animal husbandry get to the fields through the manure, where the plants will take them up and absorb them into their own tissues. There are only a few studies demonstrating the harmful effects of antibiotics in humans or animals, however, several experiments were conducted to prove the deleterious effects of antibiotics in plants. The aim of this study was to explore the effect of antibiotics and their residues in horticultural plants. The consumption of the raw or processed vegetables accumulating antibiotics and their metabolites may mean the highest risk on human health. The results of studies in this subject showed that the use of antibiotics must be continuously controlled in both human and animal applications. The information of farmers, producing or using manure on their fields, about the dangers of over expose of antibiotics could be one of the keys to reduce the danger of antibiotics in health.


antibiotics, antibiotics resistance, horticultural plants, manure, vegetable


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