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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Animal Manure: Bacterial Pathogens and Disinfection Technologies

Authors
item Millner, Patricia
item Karns, Jeffrey

Submitted to: Environmental Protection Agency
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: August 1, 2002
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: This report reviews and summarizes information about the main bacterial pathogens in manure that have been implicated in food- or waterborne illness outbreaks, their survival in untreated and treated manure, and methods used for their detection and enumeration. Current methods for detecting/enumerating these bacteria are described; bacterial survival relative to various treatment processes and farm practices are compared. Data suitable for direct comparison is limited because there is a persistent absence of standard sampling, sample handling, preparation, validation, and specific pathogen methodology which has been applied to manures, manured soils, and runoff. Reported results while credible for individual studies, some showing significant pathogen destruction via treatment process, lack fundamentals needed for comparing the efficacy of different treatments, and hence impair the confidence of conclusions, particularly when studies show divergent results. As the use of rapid, molecular methods grows for detection, isolation, and enumeration of bacterial pathogens, it will be necessary to validate the use and limits of the methods, so that results from different locations, treatments, and labs can be confidently compared. Use of molecular methods for source tracking is an especially desirable goal; it would help determine the need to treat animal manure in specific situations and to determine the effectiveness of manure treatments relative to the wildlife sources that may contaminate or constitute a significant background at different seasons or locations. Current clinical/food bacterial molecular detection methods need to be adapted, standardized, and validated for use with manure, soil, runoff water samples and treatment technologies.

Technical Abstract: This report reviews and summarizes information about the main bacterial pathogens in manure that have been implicated in food- or waterborne illness outbreaks, their survival in untreated and treated manure, and methods used for their detection and enumeration. Current methods for detecting/enumerating these bacteria are described; bacterial survival relative to various treatment processes and farm practices are compared. Data suitable for direct comparison is limited because there is a persistent absence of standard sampling, sample handling, preparation, validation, and specific pathogen methodology which has been applied to manures, manured soils, and runoff. Reported results while credible for individual studies, some showing significant pathogen destruction via treatment process, lack fundamentals needed for comparing the efficacy of different treatments, and hence impair the confidence of conclusions, particularly when studies show divergent results. As the use of rapid, molecular methods grows for detection, isolation, and enumeration of bacterial pathogens, it will be necessary to validate the use and limits of the methods, so that results from different locations, treatments, and labs can be confidently compared. Use of molecular methods for source tracking is an especially desirable goal; it would help determine the need to treat animal manure in specific situations and to determine the effectiveness of manure treatments relative to the wildlife sources that may contaminate or constitute a significant background at different seasons or locations. Current clinical/food bacterial molecular detection methods need to be adapted, standardized, and validated for use with manure, soil, runoff water samples and treatment technologies.

Last Modified: 12/19/2014
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