Survival of E. coli and Enterococcus spp. derived from pig slurry in soils of different texture

Author: Cools, D.; Merckx, R.; Vlassak, K.; Verhaegen, J.

Description: Survival in soil of E. coli and Enterococcus spp. derived from pig slurry was examined in three soils of different texture (a sandy soil, a loamy soil and a loamy sand), at three different incubation temperatures (5, 15 and 25 degrees C) and three different soil moisture contents (60, 80 and 100% of field capacity). Bacterial survival was quantified by dilution plating on selective media. Both species survived remarkably better at 5 degrees C than at 25 degrees C. Numbers of Enterococcus spp. remained constant at 5 degrees C in all soil textures, while numbers of E. coli declined gradually and reached the detection limit at day 68. At 25 degrees C, both species declined rapidly and reached the detection limit at day 54 (Enterococcus spp.) and 26 (E. coli) after inoculation. In general, Enterococcus spp. were more persistent than E. coli, except for survival in the sandy soil at 25 degrees C. Amongst the investigated soil types, the sandy soil proved to be the best for E. coli survival and the worst for Enterococcus spp. survival. On the other hand, Enterococcus spp. survived best in the loamy soil.

For both bacterial species, a lower incubation temperature and a higher soil moisture content favored survival. At 100% FC and 5 degrees C, numbers of E. coli reached the detection limit at day 80, while the number of Enterococcus spp. remained almost constant until day 80. On the other hand, numbers of Enterococcus spp. and E. coli decreased rapidly at 25 degrees C and 60% FC, and reached the detection limit at day 17 and 38, respectively. The risk of further dispersion of antibiotic resistance through species survival was confirmed.

Subject headings: Survival; E. coli; Enterococcus spp.; Antibiotic resistance

Publication year: 2001

Journal or book title: Applied Soil Ecology

Volume: 17

Issue: 1

Pages: 53-62

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Type: Journal Article

Serial number: 3042