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Environ Res. 2009 Jul;109(5):511-7. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2009.02.014. Epub 2009 Apr 5.

Source identification of airborne Escherichia coli of swine house surroundings using ERIC-PCR and REP-PCR.

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College of Animal Science and Veterinary Medicine, Shandong Agricultural University, Research Center for Animal Disease Control Engineering Shandong Province, Tai'an 271018, China.


Evidence is mounting that microorganisms originating from livestock impact the air quality of the animal houses themselves and the public in the surrounding neighborhoods. The aim of this study was to develop efficient bacterial source tracking capabilities to identify sources of Escherichia coli aerosol pollution caused by pigs. Airborne E. coli were isolated from indoor air, upwind air (10 and 50 m away) and downwind air samples (10, 50, 100, 200 and 400 m away) for five swine houses using six-stage Andersen microbial samplers and Reuter-Centrifugal samplers (RCS). E. coli strains from pig fecal samples were also collected simultaneously. The enterobacterial repetitive intergenic consensus polymerize chain reaction (ERIC-PCR) and the repetitive extragenic palindromic (REP-PCR) approaches were used to study the genetic variability and to determine the strain relationships among E. coli isolated from different sites in each swine house. Results showed that 35.1% (20/57) of the bacterial DNA fingerprints from the fecal isolates matched with the corresponding strains isolated from indoor and downwind air samples (similarity > or = 90%). E. coli strains from the indoor and downwind air samples were closely related to the E. coli strains isolated from feces, while those isolated from upwind air samples (swine house C) had low similarity (61-69%). Our results suggest that some strains isolated from downwind and indoor air originated in the swine feces. Effective hygienic measures should be taken in animal farms to prevent or minimize the downwind spread of microorganism aerosol.

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