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The Survival of E. coli in Agricultural Soil Treated With Dairy Manure
Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan www.asabe.orgCitation: Paper number 042209, 2004 ASAE Annual Meeting . @2004
Authors: Krista E. Sharples, Glenn W. Stratton, S. Ali Madani, Robert J. Gordon, Gary Patterson
Keywords: Bacteria, fecal coliforms, E. coli, Escherichia coli, manure, survival, soil
The survivability, persistence, and distribution of E. coli in soil raises serious water quality questions for rural communities. A field experiment to determine the effect of manure application timing (late spring or late summer) and manure application technique (surface broadcast or incorporated) on E. coli survival in soil was performed over two cropping seasons. Dairy manure was applied at a rate of 70 kg N/ha on 1 m2 plots in an agricultural field with a sandy loam soil. Soil samples were analyzed at weekly intervals for E. coli using a membrane filtration technique. Timing of manure application did influence survival as E. coli populations were higher when manure was applied in the late spring (June) as opposed to the late summer (August). Manure application technique also influenced the decline in organism populations, in that bacteria survived longer when the manure was surface broadcast versus when it was incorporated into the soil. Topsoil (to a 5 cm depth) was found to provide a more favorable environment for E. coli survival than subsoil (10-25 cm). Regrowth of E. coli populations was detected in some treated plots. The extended survival of E. coli and its ability to grow in soil emphasizes the need for appropriate farm manure management practices to minimize microbial contamination of surface and groundwater.