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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2005 Feb;71(2):691-6.

Fate of pathogens present in livestock wastes spread onto fescue plots.

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Direct Laboratories Ltd., Microbiological Research Division, Wergs Road, Wolverhampton, West Midlands WV6 8TQ, United Kingdom.


Fecal wastes from a variety of farmed livestock were inoculated with livestock isolates of Escherichia coli O157, Listeria monocytogenes, Salmonella, Campylobacter jejuni, and Cryptosporidium parvum oocysts at levels representative of the levels found in naturally contaminated wastes. The wastes were subsequently spread onto a grass pasture, and the decline of each of the zoonotic agents was monitored over time. There were no significant differences among the decimal reduction times for the bacterial pathogens. The mean bacterial decimal reduction time was 1.94 days. A range of times between 8 and 31 days for a 1-log reduction in C. parvum levels was obtained, demonstrating that the protozoans were significantly more hardy than the bacteria. Oocyst recovery was more efficient from wastes with lower dry matter contents. The levels of most of the zoonotic agents had declined to below detectable levels by 64 days. However, for some waste types, 128 days was required for the complete decline of L. monocytogenes levels. We were unable to find significant differences between the rates of pathogen decline in liquid (slurry) and solid (farmyard manure) wastes, although concerns have been raised that increased slurry generation as a consequence of more intensive farming practices could lead to increased survival of zoonotic agents in the environment.

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