Antibiotics in use as feed additive

An important concern of veterinary toxicology is the possible transmission of harmful substances from meat, milk, and other foodstuffs to the human population. This concerns primarily antibiotics in use as feed additives. They include tetracyclines, nitrofurans, and sulfonamides. Recently, the detection of metabolites of the nitrofuran furazolidone in meat products revived the discussion on the acceptability of this veterinary drug. Oxytetracycline and also furazolidone are suspected of being carcinogens, and oxytetracycline has been reported to react with nitrite to yield (carcinogenic) nitrosamines.

Furazolidone O O

Tetracycline

congener

substituent(s)

position(s)

Chlortetracycline

— Cl

(7)

Oxytetracycline

— OH, -

H

(5)

Demeclocycline

— OH, -

- H;

— Cl

(6; 7)

Methacycline

— OH, -

- H;

= ch2

(5; 6)

Doxycycline

— OH, -

H;

— CH3,— H

(5; 6)

Minocycline

— H,—

H;

- N(CH3)2

(6; 7)

In addition, the majority of the antibiotics in use as feed additives pose a serious (indirect) health hazard to humans. Ingestion of these antibiotics may lead to an increased resistance of bacteria. This may imply:

- transfer of antibiotic-resistant bacteria to humans via food intake, originating from animals treated with antibiotics or infected by resistant bacteria;

- transfer of the resistance factor (R-factor) from resistant non-pathogenic bacteria to other bacteria which will lead to widespread resistance.

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