The distillation process requires a combination of enzymes and yeast to convert corn into ethanol. But bacterial organisms present during distillation can sometimes out-compete yeast in the breakdown of this sugar.
The easiest way to kill these bacteria is to use antibiotics, which not only linger following distillation; they also appear to be passed along to cattle in the DG.
Until now, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) hasn’t made a point of using antibiotics in ethanol distillation, but this may change.
Samples of DG requested from 60 ethanol plants revealed the presence of four types of antibiotics: penicillin, virginiamycin, erythromycin and tylosin.
Currently there already is a concern about the use of antibiotics in feed fed to poultry and pigs.
A growing number of medical authorities fear that minute traces of antibiotics that have leaked through the path of feed and manure into the drinking water promote the growth of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
Water treatment facilities are not equipped to remove these antibiotic traces from drinking water.
Also medical researchers are unsure of the extent to which these small traces of antibiotics in drinking water may contribute to the growing problem associated with antibiotic resistance.