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Survival and Transport of Pathogens from Animal Production Systems Within Landscapes of the Southeastern USA

Schomberg, Harry; Fisher, Dwight; Endale, Dinku; Jenkins, Michael
USDA - Agricultural Research Service
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Our overall goals are 1. to understand better the survival kinetics and hydrologic transport characteristics of manure pathogens and their associated fecal indicator bacteria in agricultural watersheds, and 2. to improve our understanding of the emissions of ammonia and greenhouse gases from manures and manure applications.

To accomplish goal 1., we propose three interrelated objectives: A) develop a method detection limit for Salmonella in environmental soil, poultry litter, and water samples with quantitative, real-time polymerase chain reaction (qPCR); B) determine inactivation or die off rates of Salmonella and the fecal indicator bacteria Escherichia coli and fecal Enterococcus spp. In field soils under controlled and field conditions; and C: determine the hydrologic transport characteristics of manure pathogens and fecal indicator bacteria at the field plot and small zero-order watershed scales.

To accomplish goal 2., we propose to pursue the following two objectives: D) to measure ammonia and global-change trace gas emissions from land application of poultry litter under different tillage management, and E) from wetlands receiving nitrogen inputs from pastures.

More information
Goal 1.: A real-time, quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) method will be developed to quantity the concentrations of Salmonella in poultry litter, and in environmental soil and water samples exposed to field applied poultry litter. With sentinel chambers, the aforementioned qPCR method, and defined cultural methods inactivation rates of Salmonella, and fecal indicator bacteria in agricultural soils will be determined under laboratory and field conditions. In collaboration with the Poultry Microbiological Safety Unit at the Russell Research Center, Athens,GA, and Southeast Watershed Research Laboratory, Tifton, GA overland transport of manure pathogens and fecal indicator bacteria from field applied poultry litter will be characterized at the field-plot level under various slope and aspect and under conditions of simulated rain, and at the small watershed-scale level that will depend on natural weather conditions.

Goal 2.: Soil chambers will be used to measure gaseous emissions from poultry litter after soil application. Emissions will be evaluated under different tillage management systems. Small riparian/wetland areas will be studied to determine the proportion of hydrologic input nitrogen is transformed into gaseous nitrogenous emissions.
Funding Source
Agricultural Research Service
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Escherichia coli
Detection Methods