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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Wyndmoor, Pennsylvania » Eastern Regional Research Center » Food Safety and Intervention Technologies Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #354182

Research Project: Development and Validation of Innovative Food Processing Interventions

Location: Food Safety and Intervention Technologies Research

Title: Aerobic composting to inactivate foodborne pathogens for crop soil application: a review

item Gurtler, Joshua
item DOYLE, MICHAEL - University Of Georgia
item ERICKSON, MARILYN - University Of Georgia
item JIANG, XIUPING - Clemson University
item Millner, Patricia
item Sharma, Manan

Submitted to: Journal of Food Protection
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/4/2018
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Compost is organic material that has been degraded into a nutrient stabilized humus-like substance through intense microbial activity, which can provide essential plant nutrients (nitrogen, phosphorus) to aid in the growth of fruits and vegetables. Compost can be generated from animal waste feedstocks which can contain human pathogens, which can be inactivated through the heat and microbial competition promoted during the composting process. Outbreaks of infections caused by bacterial pathogens such as Escherchia coli O157:H7, Salmonella spp., and Listeria monocytogenes on fruit and vegetable commodities consumed raw emphasize the importance of minimizing the risk of pathogenic contamination on produce commodities. This review article investigates factors that affect the reduction and survival of bacterial foodborne pathogens during the composting process. Interactions with indigenous microorganisms, the role of carbon:nitrogen ratios and temperature changes influence the survival growth and persistence in finished compost. Understanding the mechanisms of pathogen survival during the composting process and mechanisms which reduce pathogen populations can minimize the risk of pathogen contamination in the cultivation of fruits and vegetables.