Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Southern Soils Mitigate Manure Microbes

That swine manure sprayed on to fields adds valuable nutrients to the soil is well known. But what is not known is whether all that manure is bringing harmful bacteria with it.

A new study looks at the levels of nutrients and bacteria in soils of fields that have been sprayed with manure for fifteen years or more. The research team, composed of scientists from the USDA-ARS Crop Science Research Laboratory at Mississippi State, tested soils inside and outside fields of five farms on twenty different soils types. Their results are reported in the September-October 2010 Journal of Environmental Quality, published by the American Society of Agronomy, the Crop Science Society of America, and the Soil Science Society of America.

Manure sprayed fields were found to contain higher concentrations of several types of bacteria. These include measurements of total bacteria, fecal bacteria, Staphylococcus (a common bacteria living inside animals and a potential human pathogen) and Clostridium (common gut inhabitants and potential pathogens).

Two other types of bacteria that are potential pathogens, E.Coli and Enterococcus, showed no differences in between sprayed or non-sprayed fields. One type of bacteria, Listeria, was found in higher concentrations outside, rather than inside, the fields. Two gastrointestinal pathogens, Campylobacter and Salmonella, could not be cultured in any significant amount from the fields, although DNA testing did detect some bacteria, though there were no differences between sprayed and non-sprayed fields.

The investigators also analyzed public health data from three public health districts with similar land areas, populations, and agricultural bases, but with varying numbers of swine confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs), a typical source of swine manure. Their analysis of annual reports of illnesses caused by Campylobacter and Salmonella from 1993 through 2008 showed no relationship between reported cases of these human illnesses and swine CAFO numbers.

The research team also tested soils for nutrient levels. These tests showed higher pH and higher levels of phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, sodium, copper, and zinc inside spray fields compared to outside. These results were consistent with what was expected for spray fields after long-term use. Finding differences between the same soil types inside and outside confirmed that outside soils had not been contaminated with manure and would provide good comparisons of bacteria.

“Finding low levels of pathogens outside spray fields is not surprising, because these bacteria are known to infect a wide range of wild and domestic birds and animals,” said team leader Mike McLaughlin.

Team microbiologist, John Brooks, added, “Finding similar low levels inside and outside the spray fields suggests that the low levels of pathogens in [manure] are further diluted in spray fields and either do not survive in soil or survive at low levels below cultural detection limits.”

This first report on spray field bacteria in the region suggests that manure nutrient management plans have been effective for nutrients and for bacterial pathogens. Future research will focus on enhanced resolution of pathogen levels in manure and soils, on pathogen survival and transport in soil and on plants, and on practical solutions to further reduce or eliminate risks from these pathogens.

The full article is available for no charge for 30 days following the date of this summary. View the abstract at

The Journal of Environmental Quality is a peer-reviewed, international journal of environmental quality in natural and agricultural ecosystems published six times a year by the American Society of Agronomy (ASA), Crop Science Society of America (CSSA), and the Soil Science Society of America (SSSA). The Journal of Environmental Quality covers various aspects of anthropogenic impacts on the environment, including terrestrial, atmospheric, and aquatic systems.

The American Society of Agronomy (ASA), is a scientific society helping its 8,000+ members advance the disciplines and practices of agronomy by supporting professional growth and science policy initiatives, and by providing quality, research-based publications and a variety of member services.

Sara Uttech | Newswise Science News
Further information:

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht “How trees coexist” – new findings from biodiversity research published in Nature Communications
22.03.2018 | Technische Universität Dresden

nachricht Earlier flowering of modern winter wheat cultivars
20.03.2018 | Georg-August-Universität Göttingen

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Space observation with radar to secure Germany's space infrastructure

Satellites in near-Earth orbit are at risk due to the steady increase in space debris. But their mission in the areas of telecommunications, navigation or weather forecasts is essential for society. Fraunhofer FHR therefore develops radar-based systems which allow the detection, tracking and cataloging of even the smallest particles of debris. Satellite operators who have access to our data are in a better position to plan evasive maneuvers and prevent destructive collisions. From April, 25-29 2018, Fraunhofer FHR and its partners will exhibit the complementary radar systems TIRA and GESTRA as well as the latest radar techniques for space observation across three stands at the ILA Berlin.

The "traffic situation" in space is very tense: the Earth is currently being orbited not only by countless satellites but also by a large volume of space...

Im Focus: Researchers Discover New Anti-Cancer Protein

An international team of researchers has discovered a new anti-cancer protein. The protein, called LHPP, prevents the uncontrolled proliferation of cancer cells in the liver. The researchers led by Prof. Michael N. Hall from the Biozentrum, University of Basel, report in “Nature” that LHPP can also serve as a biomarker for the diagnosis and prognosis of liver cancer.

The incidence of liver cancer, also known as hepatocellular carcinoma, is steadily increasing. In the last twenty years, the number of cases has almost doubled...

Im Focus: Researchers at Fraunhofer monitor re-entry of Chinese space station Tiangong-1

In just a few weeks from now, the Chinese space station Tiangong-1 will re-enter the Earth's atmosphere where it will to a large extent burn up. It is possible that some debris will reach the Earth's surface. Tiangong-1 is orbiting the Earth uncontrolled at a speed of approx. 29,000 km/h.Currently the prognosis relating to the time of impact currently lies within a window of several days. The scientists at Fraunhofer FHR have already been monitoring Tiangong-1 for a number of weeks with their TIRA system, one of the most powerful space observation radars in the world, with a view to supporting the German Space Situational Awareness Center and the ESA with their re-entry forecasts.

Following the loss of radio contact with Tiangong-1 in 2016 and due to the low orbital height, it is now inevitable that the Chinese space station will...

Im Focus: Alliance „OLED Licht Forum“ – Key partner for OLED lighting solutions

Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP, provider of research and development services for OLED lighting solutions, announces the founding of the “OLED Licht Forum” and presents latest OLED design and lighting solutions during light+building, from March 18th – 23rd, 2018 in Frankfurt a.M./Germany, at booth no. F91 in Hall 4.0.

They are united in their passion for OLED (organic light emitting diodes) lighting with all of its unique facets and application possibilities. Thus experts in...

Im Focus: Mars' oceans formed early, possibly aided by massive volcanic eruptions

Oceans formed before Tharsis and evolved together, shaping climate history of Mars

A new scenario seeking to explain how Mars' putative oceans came and went over the last 4 billion years implies that the oceans formed several hundred million...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

New solar solutions for sustainable buildings and cities

23.03.2018 | Event News

Virtual reality conference comes to Reutlingen

19.03.2018 | Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

Don't Give the Slightest Chance to Toxic Elements in Medicinal Products

23.03.2018 | Life Sciences

Sensitive grip

23.03.2018 | Materials Sciences

No compromises: Combining the benefits of 3D printing and casting

23.03.2018 | Process Engineering

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>