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Enteric Pathogens in Compost: Analysis of Survival, Regrowth and the Risk for Transmission of a Variety of Organisms


<OL> <LI> Determine 'D' and 'z' values for the thermal inactivation of an array of human pathogens (bacterial, parasitic and viral) in three different source materials for composting, under conditions that meet or exceed current industry standards.

<LI> Monitor pathogen levels in heat-treated compost source materials to assess the potential for pathogen recovery and growth during a standard compost maturation period, under varying experimental conditions (e.g., moisture and indigenous microflora content).

<LI> Field-scale validation of findings from objectives 1 and 2.

More information

Expected Benefits: This study will provide scientific data in support of risk assessment and risk management, thus helping to ensure the safety of Ontario-grown produce. Thermal inactivation values obtained here will allow assessment of the risk posed by compost for the transmission of bacterial, viral and parasitic pathogens, and will reveal whether current guidelines for composting are sufficient to ensure the safety of the finished product. These data may also reveal differences in pathogen inactivation in different compost matrices, and may indicate a requirement for the establishment of material-specific composting guidelines to ensure the safety of compost applied to Ontario produce fields.

<P> For more information, please visit the <a href="; target="_blank">Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food & Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) Food Safety Research Program</a>.

Reid, Anne
Health Canada, Food Directorate, Bureau of Microbial Hazards
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