Antibiotics administered on livestock cut carbon in soil


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    • Recently, Researchers at the Centre for Ecological Sciences (CES), Indian Institute of Science (IISc), have found that grazing by livestock leads to lower carbon storage in soil compared to grazing by wild herbivores.


    • The study was conducted in the Spiti region of the Himalayas and compared   livestock such as sheep  and their wild relatives such as the yak and ibex in how they affect the soil carbon stocks.
    • Although soils from the wild and livestock areas had many similarities, they differed in one key parameter called carbon use efficiency (CUE). CUE determines the ability of microbes to store carbon in the soil. The soil in the livestock areas had 19% lower CUE.
    • The researchers found that veterinary antibiotics such as tetracycline when released into the soil through dung and urine alter the microbial communities in soil in ways that are detrimental for sequestering carbon.