In this study, we investigated the effect of long-term use of chlortetracycline (CTC) on the gut microbiota composition and metabolism profiles in pigs, and the variation of antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs) and microbial communities in faeces and manure during aerobic composting (AC) and anaerobic digestion (AD). The pigs were fed the same basal diet supplemented with or without 75 mg/kg CTC, and fresh faeces of 30-, 60-, 90-, and 120-day-old pigs were collected from the CTC group. The results showed that CTC reduced the diversity of the gut microbiota significantly and changed its structure. Metabolomics analysis of intestinal contents revealed 23 differentially abundant metabolites, mainly organic acids, carbohydrates, and amino acids. Metabolic pathways, such as the TCA cycle, propionate metabolism, and pyruvate metabolism, were changed. From 30 to 120 days of age, the amount of CTC residues in faeces and the abundance of 3 tetracycline resistance genes increased significantly, and it was positively correlated with tetC, tetG, tetW, sul1 and intI2. CTC residue levels and ARGs abundance gradually decreased with fermentation time, and AC was better than AD at reducing ARGs abundance. The results suggest that in-feed CTC can reduce the diversity of the gut microbiota, change the structure, function and metabolism of the bacterial community, and increase the abundance of ARGs in faeces.
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