Persistence of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli O26 in cow slurry

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AimsThe main objective of this study was to evaluate the growth and survival of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) O26 in cow slurry; this serogroup is regarded as an important cause of STEC-associated diseases.Methods and ResultsFour STEC were examined by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) to determine whether they harbour key virulence determinants and also by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) to obtain overview fingerprints of their genomes. They were transformed with the pGFPuv plasmid and were separately inoculated at a level of 106 CFU ml−1 in 15 l of cow slurry. All STEC O26 strains could be detected for at least 3 months in cow slurry without any genetic changes. The moisture content of the slurry decreased over time to reach a final value of 75% while the pH increased from 8·5 to 9·5 units during the last 50 days.ConclusionSTEC O26 strains were able to survive in cow slurry for an extended period.Significance and Impact of the StudyLong-term storage of waste slurry should be required to reduce the pathogen load and to limit environmental contamination by STEC O26.

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