Comparison of release and transport of manure-borne Escherichia coli and enterococci under grass buffer conditions

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Abstract

Aim

To test the hypothesis that Escherichia coli and enterococci bacteria have similar release rates and transport characteristics after being released from land-applied manure.

Methods and Results

Turfgrass soil sod was placed into 200 cm long boxes that had the top two 25 cm sections separated to monitor the release and infiltration of bacteria, which affected bacteria transport in the rest of the box. Dairy manure with added KBr was broadcast on the top two sections. Boxes with either live or dead grass stand were placed under a rainfall simulator for 90 min. Runoff and infiltration samples were collected and analysed for Br, E. coli, enterococci and turbidity. Significant differences in release kinetics of E. coli and enterococci were found. A change from first-order release kinetics to zero-order kinetics after 1 h of rainfall simulation was observed.

Conclusion

Differences in release rates but not in the subsequent transport were observed for E. coli and enterococci.

Significance and Impact of the Study

Because both E. coli and enterococci are currently used as indicator organisms for manure-borne pathogens, the differences in their release rates may affect the efficiency of using these organisms as indicators.

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