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Prolonged survival of campylobacter species in bovine manure compost

Douglas Inglis, G., McAllister, T.A., Larney, F.J., Topp, E. (2010). Prolonged survival of campylobacter species in bovine manure compost, 76(4), 1110-1119.


The persistence of naturally occurring campylobacteria in aerobic compost constructed of manure from beef cattle that were administered Chlortetracycline and sulfamethazine (AS700) or from cattle not administered antibiotics (control) was examined. Although there were no differences in population sizes of heterotrophic bacteria, the temperature of AS700 compost was more variable and did not become as high as that of control compost. There were significant differences in water content, total carbon (C), total nitrogen (N), and electrical conductivity but not in the C/N ratio or pH between the two compost treatments. Campylobacteria were readily isolated from pen manure, for up to day 15 from control compost, and throughout the active phase of AS700 compost. Campylobacter DNA (including Campylobacter coli, Campylobacter fetus, Campylobacter hyointestinalis, and Campylobacter jejuni) was detected over the ca. 10-month composting period, and no reductions in quantities of C. jejuni DNA were observed over the duration of the active phase. The utilization of centrifugation in combination with ethidium monoazide (EMA) significantly reduced (>90%) the amplification of C. jejuni DNA that did not originate from cells with intact cell membranes. No differences were observed in the frequency of Campylobacter DNA detection between EMA- and non-EMA-treated samples, suggesting that Campylobacter DNA amplified from compost was extracted from cells with intact cell membranes (i.e., from viable cells). The Findings of this study indicate that campylobacteria excreted in cattle feces persist for long periods in compost and call into question the common belief that these bacteria do not persist in manure. Copyright © 2010, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.

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