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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


Location: Agroecosystem Management Research

2008 Annual Report

1a.Objectives (from AD-416)
1. Define the critical environmental and biological factors such as temperature, moisture content, organic matter content/composition, and nutrient content affecting emissions of odor compounds, greenhouse gases, and ammonia from beef cattle feedlot surfaces. 2. Measure the effects of critical environmental and biological factors identified in Objective 1 on nutrient transport of N, P, and indicator microorganisms from beef cattle feedlot surfaces. 3. Determine the potential for emissions of pathogenic, fecal indicator microorganisms, nutrient and odor compounds in wastewater, soil and air during and after spray wastewater application. 4. Evaluate alternative treatment technologies such as constructed wetlands, cattle feedlot runoff systems, and water treatment technologies to reduce or eliminate the occurrence, transmission, or persistence of manure-borne pathogens and excessive nutrients (N and P) and other constituents (biological oxygen demand, pH, and total suspended solids).

1b.Approach (from AD-416)
Experiments will be conducted in the field and in the laboratory to evaluate gas emissions, nutrient transport, and microbial transport and fate associated with specific types of confined animal feeding operations and wastewater treatment processes. Specific areas within beef cattle feedlot pens will be identified that disproportionately emit gases (odor compounds, ammonia, and greenhouse gases) or have a large potential for nutrient runoff through the use of flux chambers and gas chromatography and by the use of artificial rainfall simulators. Flux chambers, mass losses from soil, and bioaerosol sampling will be used to determine the loss of nutrients, odor compounds, and the potential to disseminate manure-borne microorganisms in multi-year studies at field sites where swine wastewater is center pivot applied to agricultural fields. Standard microbiological techniques will be used to determine the prevalence of manure-borne microorganisms after alternative treatments have been used to treat wastewater.

3.Progress Report
Beef Cattle Pen Research: The following research aligns with the NP 206 component “Atmospheric Emissions”. Studies focusing on developing methods to adequately sample the wide variation within beef cattle feedlot pens were conducted. These studies examined how the spatial variability of nutrients, organic matter, and greenhouse gas fluxes on the feedlot surface were related to soil conductivity and found a strong relationship between conductivity and nutrients and organic matter content. The initial paper describing the sampling method has been submitted to a refereed journal. A series of studies examining the effect of including distiller’s byproducts in cattle feed and its impact on hydrogen sulfide emissions were also initiated. Inclusion of distiller’s byproducts enhanced hydrogen sulfide emission from fresh manure. Pen surveys are being conducted to determine the extent of enhanced hydrogen sulfide emission from the entire pen surface. Pathogen Research: The following research aligns with the NP 206 component “Pathogens”. The efficacy of advanced treatment technologies to reduce enteric pathogens from treated wastewater was accomplished through bench and pilot scale studies. This research has shown adequate (at least 99.99%) reduction in enteric viruses by disinfectants such as ozone and medium pressure ultra violet light. However, preliminary results show the persistence of adenoviruses in almost all treated samples. Whether or not these viruses are a public health concern is unknown. Cloning and sequencing of these samples have identified a wide range of adenovirus types occurring in treated wastewater. Data analysis has continued for field studies carried out to determine the transport of pathogens in air downwind of livestock wastewater irrigation practices. This work includes a general occurrence study (evaluating the types and concentrations of pathogens and indicators in air collected downwind of spray irrigation) and a model development study. The model is an initial attempt at generating general standard operating procedures (based on weather conditions) for producers that will limit the possibility of pathogen transmission outside of the land application site. Manuscripts are being drafted describing the occurrence of pathogenic and indicator microorganisms that occur downwind of these practices.

1. Enhanced ultraviolet light (UV) inactivation of adenoviruses under polychromatic UV lamps. Low pressure UV (LPUV) is a water treatment technology known to be very effective at the reduction of most microorganisms important to human health. However, recent investigations show that LPUV light is not effective for the reduction of human adenoviruses. Adenoviruses are important causes of respiratory and diarrheal disease and can be transmitted through water. New UV light technologies are now available but their effectiveness at reducing pathogens is largely unknown. A study was conducted to compare the ability of LPUV and newer polychromatic UV technologies to inactivate adenovirus in water. There was over 4-fold increase in inactivation of adenoviruses using polychromatic UV compared to LPUV. Polychromatic UV technology is effective at adenovirus inactivation in treated wastewater and thus, may be a viable technology for disinfection of waters used for irrigation of fresh crops, drinking water for animals, and other water sources important to agriculture. This research fits in the NP 206 Component: “Pathogens” and problem area “Holistic Treatment Technologies for Nutrients, Pathogens and PACs.”

5.Significant Activities that Support Special Target Populations

6.Technology Transfer

Number of Non-Peer Reviewed Presentations and Proceedings10

Review Publications
Hubbard, R.K., Bosch, D.D., Marshall, L.K., Strickland, T.C., Rowland, D., Griffin, T.S., Honeycutt, C.W., Albrecht, S.L., Sistani, K.R., Torbert Iii, H.A., Woodbury, B.L., Powell, J.M., Wienhold, B.J. 2008. Nitrogen Mineralization of Broiler Litter Applied to Southeastern Coastal Plain Soils. Journal of Soil and Water Conservation. 63(4):182-192.

Paschold, J.S., Wienhold, B.J., Mccallister, D.L., Ferguson, R.B. 2008. Crop N and P utilization following application of slurry from swine fed traditional or low phytate corn diets. Agronomy Journal. 100:997-1004.

Gilley, J.E., Eghball, B., Marx, D.B. 2007. Nitrogen and phosphorus concentrations of runoff as affected by moldboard plowing. Transactions of the ASABE 50:1543-1548.

Gilley, J.E., Berry, E.D., Eigenberg, R.A., Marx, D.B., Woodbury, B.L. 2008. Spatial variations in nutrient and microbial transport from feedlot surfaces. Transactions of the ASABE. 51(2):675-684.

Paschold, J.S., Wienhold, B.J., Ferguson, R., Mccallister, D.L. 2008. Soil N and P availability for field applied slurry from swine fed traditional and low phytate corn diets. Soil Science Society of America Journal. 72:1096-1101.

Berry, E.D., Woodbury, B.L., Nienaber, J.A., Eigenberg, R.A., Thurston Enriquez, J.A., Wells, J. 2007. Incidence and persistence of zoonotic bacterial and protozoan pathogens in a beef cattle feedlot runoff control - vegetative treatment system. Journal of Environmental Quality 36:1873-1882.

Linden, K.G., Thurston Enriquez, J.A., Schaefer, R., Malley, J.P. 2007. Enhanced inactivation of adenovirus under polychromatic UV lamps. Applied and Environmental Microbiology. 73:7571-7574.

Gilley, J.E., Eghball, B., Marx, D. 2008. Narrow grass hedge effects on nutrient transport following compost application. Transactions of the ASABE. 51(3):997-1005.

Last Modified: 4/21/2014
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