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Title: Comparison of three types of biochar for removal of Escherichia coli from agricultural runoff

item Cooper, Laura
item Boyer, Douglas

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/2/2011
Publication Date: 9/22/2011
Citation: Cooper, L.K., Boyer, D.G. 2011. Comparison of three types of biochar for removal of Escherichia coli from agricultural runoff. 87th Annual Conference of the West Virginia Public Health Association, September 21-23, 2011, Morgantonw, WV.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) is an infectious type of bacteria that infects over 5,000 people per year in the United States, sometimes leading to death. Since cattle can produce more than 104 Escherichia coli (E. coli) per gram of feces, and biochar is a material with physical properties that could allow it to kill and/or sequester this harmful bacteria, this study examined the use of biochar as a potential tool for the removal of E. coli from agricultural runoff. This study employed the use of Membrane Filter Technique (MFT) to assess three uniquely-produced biochars for their ability to remove E. coli from a solution with a known concentration of the bacteria. One portion of the experiment tested E. coli transport through columns, and another tested samples with biochar versus those without biochar for their ability to sequester and/or kill E. coli. After a given time of exposure to biochar, colony-forming units (CFUs) of E. coli were counted after plating and incubating on Modified membrane-Thermotolerant Escherichia coli Agar (Modified mTEC) plates. Results were reported in E. coli CFUs per milliliter of solution. Results of this study showed that, while the column method exposing E. coli solution to biochar proved ineffective, the Adsorption Isotherm method, which involved shaking a mixture of biochar and E. coli solution for up to 90 minutes, showed significant results in the removal of E. coli from solution. Linear regression analysis and paired t-tests confirmed the hypothesis, concluding that the concentration of E. coli were less in samples with biochar than in samples in the absence of biochar.