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Research Project: Characterizing Antimicrobial Resistance in Poultry Production Environments

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Title: Longitudinal environmental sampling of small organic farms for foodborne pathogens and indicator bacteria as part of the HARVEST Initiative

item Cook, Kimberly - Kim
item OLADEINDE, ADELUMOLA - Orise Fellow
item Plumblee Lawrence, Jodie
item ZOCK, GREGORY - University Of Georgia
item Hall, Mary
item Wiggins, Latoya
item House, Sandra
item Line, John
item HIETT, KELLI - Food And Drug Administration(FDA)
item ZIMERI, ANNE MARIE - University Of Georgia

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/20/2018
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: The HARVEST Initiative (Healthy Affordable Renewable Variety: Enabling Sustainable Trade) seeks to analyze farming techniques and address food security in Northeast Georgia and beyond. The popularity of farmers’ markets has increased in recent years because of an increased interest in local foods and organic produce. As part of this project, we conducted a longitudinal study to address the microbiological quality of samples taken from four organic farms using biological soil amendments of animal origin (BSAAO) for growing produce. We monitored for the abundance of indicator bacteria (E. coli, coliform and Enterococci) and pathogens (Salmonella, Listeria, and Campylobacter) in BSAAO, soil, irrigation water (IW), and surface water (SW) samples collected bi-monthly during the produce growing season. In addition, squash samples were collected at farmer’s market at harvest. Salmonella was detected in only one BSAAO sample by culture, however, 32.0 %, 30.8 % and 0 % of BSAAO, soil and produce samples, respectively, were positive for Salmonella by molecular analysis. As part of analysis for indicators, we found that the concentration of E. coli was below our limit of quantification in all samples. The concentration (standard error) of coliforms in BSAAO, soil, IW and SW was log 4.95 ±0.26, 6.20±0.094, 1.85±0.22 and 1.05±0.076 colony forming unit (CFU) g-1 or 100mL-1, respectively. For, enterococci the average concentration was log 4.94±0.35, 4.49±0.33, 1.00±0.0077, and 2.43±0.13 CFU g-1 or 100 mL-1, respectively. The concentration of coliforms and enterococci on squash from the farms market was 7.08±0.15 and 6.23±013 log CFU 100 g-1. Collectively, our results demonstrate the need for caution when selecting methodologies and indicators used to confirm the microbiological quality of organic farm samples. BSAAO may also be an important reservoir of indicator bacteria. Further research is needed to identify specific farming practices that enhance produce safety taken from organic farms using BSAAO.