Survival of E. coli O157:H7 in organic wastes destined for land application

Lisa M. Avery, K. Killham, D. L. Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

77 Citations (Scopus)


Aim: To determine the persistence of Escherichia coli O157 in contrasting organic wastes spread to land and to assess the potential environmental risk associated with the disposal of these wastes to land. Methods and Results: Twenty-seven organic wastes originating from slaughterhouses, wastewater treatment plants (raw and treated sewage), creameries and farms (bovine slurry), were inoculated with E. coli O157:H7 and incubated at 10̊C. Although pathogen numbers gradually declined in all the wastes, albeit at different rates even in the same waste type, E. coli O157:H7 was still viable in 77% of organic wastes tested after 2 months. Conclusions: Long-term storage of organic wastes led to a significant and gradual decline in E. coli O157:H7 numbers. Consequently, storage may be a useful means of reducing the pathogen load of wastes destined for land application. However, in most cases, long-term storage cannot be expected to completely eliminate E. coli O157:H7 from waste. Significance and Impact of the Study: Our results indicate that current legislation may be insufficient to protect the environment from E. coli O157:H7 contamination from untreated wastes spread to land.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)814-822
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Applied Microbiology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 20 Apr 2005
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'Survival of E. coli O157:H7 in organic wastes destined for land application'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this