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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


Location: Food Animal Environmental Systems Research

2013 Annual Report

1a. Objectives (from AD-416):
Research will be conducted as part of the student’s research training toward a Ph.D. degree. The research will be in the area of animal waste management with a special focus on Microbiological activities in relation to odor, atmospheric emission, and nutrient transport.

1b. Approach (from AD-416):
A Ph.D. candidate student from Alabama A&M University will be trained and mentored by an advisory committee from USDA-ARS scientists in Bowling Green, KY, and scientists from Alabama A&M University, Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences. The student will complete her academic course works at the university, while conducting most of the research at USDA-ARS Bowling Green during summers and at the end of the course works requirement. The topic of the research requirement for the Ph.D. program will be determined at the first advisory committee meeting no later than the spring 2011 semester. However, the focus of the research will be in the area of animal waste management. This research will also be used as an opportunity to train a minority graduate student that will potentially become an USDA-ARS scientist upon graduation.

3. Progress Report:
A minority Ph.D. candidate student is working on a research project entitled “Evaluating coliform indicators in runoff from various animal wastes and soil types” toward a Ph.D. degree program at Alabama A&M University. An advisory committee from USDA-ARS and A&M University has been selected. The student spent the summer of 2011 at the USDA-ARS Animal Waste Management Research Unit receiving training in molecular microbiology. The student will receive more training as it becomes necessary for the next 2 years prior to finishing the requirement for the degree program. Following is a brief outline of the student's activities of the past year: The prior year's research has been narrowed down to focus on strengthening fecal source tracking integrity. It has become vital to the research community to create stable guidelines for fecal source tracking and fecal indicator monitoring in order to best regulate water quality and protect human health. Research will be focused on finding which indicator will work best for different types of fecal waste based on soil type. Poultry manure/litter has been collected and analyzed for its bacteria containing quality. Next, it will be applied to the soils in runoff boxes. Indicators for those bacteria have been narrowed down to Salmonella, Escherichia coli and Staph. Thus far the student has successfully tested some of the indicators on clay loam soil type. This test was conducted to gain results on the indicators ability to pick up the bacteria in the soil as preliminary findings. The student completed lab work that included experimentation and training in the microbiology, and molecular labs. The student is currently enrolled in a Microbial Ecology course for the summer to fulfill the PhD course work requirements. ARS funding of this project is ending as of 08/14/2013; however, the ARS scientist will continue collaborating with Alabama A&M scientist to guide the student to the completion of the on going research and the degree program.

4. Accomplishments

Last Modified: 06/22/2017
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