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Investigation of Pathogenic Escherichia coli and Microbial Pathogens in Pulp and Paper Mill Biosolids

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Biosolids produced from pulp and paper mill wastewater treatment have excellent properties as soil conditioners, but often contain high levels of Escherichia coli. E. coli are commonly used as indicators of fecal contamination and health hazard; therefore, their presence in biosolids causes concern and has lead to restrictions in land-spreading. The objectives of this study were to determine the following: (1) if E. coli from the biosolids of a wastewater-free pulp and paper mill were enteric pathogens, and (2) if other waterborne microbial pathogens were present. E. coli were screened for heat-labile and heat-stable enterotoxin and verocytotoxin virulence genes using a polymerase chain reaction. Ten isolates were also screened for invasion-associated locus and invasion plasmid antigen H genes. None of the 120 isolates carried these genes. Tests for seven other microbial pathogens were negative. Effluents and biosolids from this mill do not contain common microbial pathogens and are unlikely to pose a health hazard.
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Keywords: Escherichia coli; biosolids; enteric pathogens; polymerase chain reaction; pulp and paper mill; waterborne microbial pathogens

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2007-09-01

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  • Water Environment Research (WER) is published monthly, including an annual Literature Review. A subscription to WER includes access to the latest content back to 1992, as well as access to fast track articles. An individual subscription is valid for 12 months from month of purchase.

    Water Environment Research (WER) publishes peer-reviewed research papers, research notes, state-of-the-art and critical reviews on original, fundamental and applied research in all scientific and technical areas related to water quality, pollution control, and management. An annual Literature Review provides a review of published books and articles on water quality topics from the previous year.

    Published as: Sewage Works Journal, 1928 - 1949; Sewage and Industrial Wastes, 1950 - 1959; Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, 1959 - Oct 1989; Research Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, Nov 1989 - 1991; Water Environment Research, 1992 - present.
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