A critical review of process parameters influencing the fate of antibiotic resistance genes in the anaerobic digestion of organic waste

Publication Name

Bioresource Technology


The overuse and inappropriate disposal of antibiotics raised severe public health risks worldwide. Specifically, the incomplete antibiotics metabolism in human and animal bodies contributes to the significant release of antibiotics into the natural ecosystems and the proliferation of antibiotic-resistant bacteria carrying antibiotic-resistant genes. Moreover, the organic feedstocks used for anaerobic digestion are often highly-rich in residual antibiotics and antibiotic-resistant genes. Hence, understanding their fate during anaerobic digestion has become a significant research focus recently. Previous studies demonstrated that various process parameters could considerably influence the propagation of the antibiotic-resistant genes during anaerobic digestion and their transmission via land application of digestate. This review article scrutinizes the influences of process parameters on antibiotic-resistant genes propagation in anaerobic digestion and the inherent fundamentals behind their effects. Based on the literature review, critical research gaps and challenges are summarized to guide the prospects for future studies.

Open Access Status

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Article Number


Funding Sponsor

Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada



Link to publisher version (DOI)