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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2009 May;75(10):3206-15. doi: 10.1128/AEM.01791-08. Epub 2009 Mar 6.

Percolation and survival of Escherichia coli O157:H7 and Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium in soil amended with contaminated dairy manure or slurry.

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  • 1Biological Farming Systems Group, Department of Plant Sciences, Wageningen University and Research Center, Marijkeweg 22, 6709 PG Wageningen, The Netherlands.


The effect of cattle manure and slurry application on percolation and survival of Escherichia coli O157:H7 and Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium was investigated for different soil depths after the addition of water. Four treatments were chosen for the first set of experiments: (i) addition of inoculated farmyard manure on the soil surface, (ii) mixing of inoculated farmyard manure with the top 10 cm of soil, (iii) addition of inoculated slurry on the soil surface, and (iv) injection of inoculated slurry into the top 10 cm of the soil. Homogeneity of water distribution in the soil profile was confirmed by a nondestructive nuclear magnetic resonance method. Survival data were fitted to a modified logistic model, and estimated survival times were compared. In the second set of experiments, pathogen-inoculated farmyard manure or slurry was applied to soil columns with 1-month-old lettuce plants. More pathogen cells percolated to greater depths after slurry than after manure application. Survival of E. coli O157:H7 was significantly longer in soil with slurry than in that with manure, while survival of Salmonella serovar Typhimurium was equally high with manure and slurry. The densities of the pathogens were not different in the rhizosphere compared to the bulk soil with manure, while the densities were higher by 0.88 +/- 0.11 and 0.71 +/- 0.23 log CFU per g (dry weight), respectively, in the rhizosphere than in bulk soil after slurry application. Our results suggest that surface application of manure may decrease the risk of contamination of groundwater and lettuce roots compared to injection of slurry.

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