An official website of the United States government.

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you've safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Agroecology-Nutrient Measurement from Agriculture - FY 2010


Project 1: Hypothesis: That the quality of water used in routine pesticide applications can affect the microbial load on the surface of frewh commodities. <BR>Objective 1: Study the quality of the surface water and groundwater sources used for pesticide applications. <BR>Objective 2: Study the effects of the water source used for pesticide applications on bacterial populations pressent on the tomato phyllosphere. <BR>Output will be that the results from the tomato phyllosphere washes will be comared to the wsater source results, to determine if the water sources will have an effect on bacterial loads of tomato fruit. <P>Project 2: The project seeks to extend and develop the idea of improved pricing as a means for better targeting resources for non-point source nutrient pollution abatement in the Bay and its tributaries. <BR>Objective 1: to extend the results of current research on efficiency pricing among policy-makers, government staff, scientists and the public. <BR>Objective 2: to develop a practical means for communicating price to adopters of cover crops under an efficiency pricing scheme. <P>Project 3:The project seeks to determine the presence of antibiotics and antibiotic resistant bacteria in poultry litter, biosolids and wastewater treatment plant effluents and evaluate the use of a subsurface litter injector to reduce the surface runoff of nutirents and antibiotics from farm fields. <BR>Objective 1: Collect samples from different broiler litter sources and analyze for a broad suite of antibiotics, indlucing ionophores, and for antibiotic resistant bacteria. <BR>Objective 2: determine the presence of antibiotics, including ionophores, and antibiotic (human & veterinary) resistant bacteria prior to poultry litter application in the soils, groundwater and the receiving waters/sediments of the WREC no-till experimental watershed pre-2010 litter application. <BR>Objective 3: Determine the presence of nutrients, antibiotics, including ionophores, and antibiotic resistant bacteria after poultry litter application in the runoff from the two experimental watersheds managed with different tillage practices. <BR>Objective 4: Determine the presence of antibiotics, including ionophores, and antibiotic resistant bacteria in the soils, groundwater, receiving waters and sediments in the no-till watershed after poultry litter application in 2010 and at the end of the 2010 growing season. <BR>Objective 5: Analyze a number of biosolids samples to determine the extent of antibiotics, including ionophores, and antibiotic resistant bacteria in this source. Collect water samples fromt he outfalls of 5 wastewater treatment plants on the Delmarva Peninsula for the same analyses. <BR>Objective 6: Analyze a number of receiving streams which receive runoff from fields amended with biosolids and poultry litter as fertilizer to determine the movement of antibiotics, including ionophores, from these fields and the development of antibiotic resistant bacteria. In addition, analyze the receiving streams fromt he outfalls of 5 wastewater treatment plants identified in Objective 5 for the same suite of antibiotics and antibiotic resistant bacteria.

More information

Non-Technical Summary: The Chesapeake Bay has been designated an "impaired" water body by the EPA. Thus, there has been a renewed focus on the part of the Federal government to assist the states and the District of Columbia in cleaning up the Bay so that this designation can be removed. This effort has been evidenced through a Presidential Executive Order resulting in stronger cooperation among Federal agencies such as EPA, USDA and other agencies and emphasis has been placed upon increasing Federal assistance to the states. However, with this strengthened cooperation comes a series of requirements that are aimed at reducing the pollution coming into the Bay with restrictions that will be established known as specific loadings for each watershed ( i.e.,TMDL). In sum, dealing with the reduction of nutrients and other contaminants takes two forms: 1) looking into ways to reduce the input of nutrients and contaminants into the Bay through the implementation of better management practices and good agricultural practices on the land or before it goes into the water,and 2)limiting the amount of nutrients and other comtaminants through the TMDLs. Project 1 looks into the changes in the microbial load of farm ponds used for pesticide applications and how this water used to mix pesticides translates directly into the measurable microbial load on tomato fruit. The purpose is to be able to clearly define the risks and water metrics needed for fresh market tomato producers in Maryland and elsewhere. Project 2 focuses on the idea of improved pricing as a means for better targeting of resources for non-point source nutrient pollution abatement in the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries. By efficiency pricing it means using the price mechanism and science-based expectations about nutrient load reductions to resolve one part of the "targeting" problem for nutrient load reduction. Project 3 looks at the degree that poultry litter application after a rain event could flush antibiotics into receiving streams and could migrate into the soils and eventually into the groundwater leading to the Bay and the implications of this happening with respect to developing antibiotic resistant bacteria. All three projects will focus on ways to address these problems to reduce nutirent contribution to the Bay system. <P> Approach: Project 1 for Objective 1: Bi-weekly water samples taken from June-end of July. Once tomato season begins in July, water sampling occurs on weekly basis until September. At each date, a 50mL sample to be taken from each water source. Three water sources sampled include:groundwater well,a surface pond and a surface pond treated annually with copper sulfate as an algaecide. Each sample to be plated onto 3M pertifilms to test for Enterobacteriaceae, Total Coliforms, and Fecal Coliforms. Testing to be done with specific lab approved parameters. Salmonella by a Rapid Chek assay on each sample with incubation period. At each sampling date, pH & water temp. measurements also taken with handheld pH/ORP meter. For Objective 2: small plots of shipping & grape tomatoes will be planted for 1 additional growing season. Plants will be grown using plastic mulch & trickle irrigation. Project will require 15 plots of each cultivar-three treatments will be 1: groundwater used to mix pesticides, 2) surface water used to mix pesticides and 3) surface water from treated pond with copper sulfate to minimize algal growth. Each plot will consist of two 10 foot rows. One row planted with regular shipping tomatoes; the other with grape tomatoes. Each plot to be surrounded by 15 ft. unplanted buffer strip. Project 2: Use will be made of the Cheapeake Bay model 5.3 input-output data for nutrients from differing land uses. A pricing tool for cover crops will be developed for implementing efficiency pricing for this BMP. as well as for buffers. The project will work with farmers to develop a pricing tool that they can use. Assessing the implied institutional factors resulting from a shift to efficiency pricing will require a review of existing practices and how that practice is enabled. Armed with information about how a program is currently implemented, the changes that might be required if an attempt were made to change the way practices are bought forward could be made. The project would estimate potential price effects on land use decisions through an analysis of farm budgets. For Project 3: Chemical methods for sample collection, storage, shipping and analysis of antibiotics-USGS Geochemestry Reseearch Lab will analyze a total of 81 sediment, biosolid and litter samples and 134 water samples for multiple classes of antibiotics. The samples will be processed and analyzed according to specific parameters.Methods for determining presence of antibiotic resistant bacteria - Solid samples will be held in twirl seal sterile campling bags. Sediment and water will be held in sterile wide mouth containers. Samples will be held on ice (not frozen) and delivered to A.K. Leight at the NOAA Oxford Laboratory immediately after sampling. There will be specific protocols followed by that Lab. Nutrient analysis of runoff samples will be conducted in analytical facilities at the WREC and will be analyzed for TSS, volatile solids, TN, TP,TDN and TDP, PO4-P, NO3-N, NH4-N and specific protocols will be followed for each.

Brinsfield, Russ
University of Maryland - College Park
Start date
End date
Project number
Accession number