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Persistence of Escherichia coli and Salmonella in Surface Soil following Application of Liquid Hog Manure for Production of Pickling Cucumbers

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Liquid hog manure is routinely applied to farm land as a crop fertilizer. However, this practice raises food safety concerns, especially when manure is used on fruit and vegetable crops. The objectives of this project were to evaluate the persistence of Escherichia coli and Salmonella in surface soil after application of liquid hog manure to fields where pickling cucumbers were grown and to verify the microbiological quality of harvested cucumbers. Mineral fertilizers were replaced by liquid hog manure at various ratios in the production of pickling cucumbers in a 3-year field study. The experimental design was a randomized complete block comprising four replicates in sandy loam (years 1, 2, and 3) and loamy sand (year 3). Soil samples were taken at a depth of 20 cm every 2 weeks after June application of organic and inorganic fertilizers. Vegetable samples were also taken at harvest time. Liquid hog manure, soil, and vegetable (washed and unwashed) samples were analyzed for the presence of Salmonella and E. coli. An exponential decrease of E. coli populations was observed in surface soil after the application of manure. The estimated average time required to reach undetectable concentrations of E. coli in sandy loam varied from 56 to 70 days, whereas the absence of E. coli was estimated at 77 days in loamy sand. The maximal Salmonella persistence in soil was 54 days. E. coli and Salmonella were not detected in any vegetable samples.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Institut de Recherche et de Développement en Agroenvironnement, 3300 Sicotte, Saint-Hyacinthe, Québec, Canada J2S 7B8 2: Faculté de Médecine Vétérinaire, Université de Montréal, C.P. 5000, 3200 Sicotte, Saint-Hyacinthe, Québec, Canada J2S 7C6

Publication date: May 1, 2005

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