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Southern soils mitigate manure microbes
Date:9/10/2010

MADISON, WI, September 9, 2010 That swine manure sprayed on to fields adds valuable nutrients to the soil is well known. But what is not known is whether all that manure is bringing harmful bacteria with it.

A new study looks at the levels of nutrients and bacteria in soils of fields that have been sprayed with manure for fifteen years or more. The research team, composed of scientists from the USDA-ARS Crop Science Research Laboratory at Mississippi State, tested soils inside and outside fields of five farms on twenty different soils types. Their results are reported in the September-October 2010 Journal of Environmental Quality, published by the American Society of Agronomy, the Crop Science Society of America, and the Soil Science Society of America.

Manure sprayed fields were found to contain higher concentrations of several types of bacteria. These include measurements of total bacteria, fecal bacteria, Staphylococcus (a common bacteria living inside animals and a potential human pathogen) and Clostridium (common gut inhabitants and potential pathogens).

Two other types of bacteria that are potential pathogens, E. coli and Enterococcus, showed no differences in between sprayed or non-sprayed fields. One type of bacteria, Listeria, was found in higher concentrations outside, rather than inside, the fields. Two gastrointestinal pathogens, Campylobacter and Salmonella, could not be cultured in any significant amount from the fields, although DNA testing did detect some bacteria, though there were no differences between sprayed and non-sprayed fields.

The investigators also analyzed public health data from three public health districts with similar land areas, populations, and agricultural bases, but with varying numbers of swine confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs), a typical source of swine manure. Their analysis of annual reports of illnesses caused by Campylobac
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Contact: Sara Uttech
suttech@sciencesocieties.org
608-268-4948
American Society of Agronomy
Source:Eurekalert

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