Transfer of enteric pathogens to successive habitats as part of microbial cycles

A.M. Semenov, A.A. Kupriyanov, A.H.C. van Bruggen

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Escherichia coli O157:H7 gfp and Salmonella enterica Typhimurium gfp passed through six successive habitats within a microbial cycle. Pathogen cultures were introduced into cow dung or fodder. Microscopically observed cells and CFUs were monitored in fodder, dung, dung-soil mix, rhizosphere and phyllosphere of cress or oat plants grown in infested dung–soil mix, and in excrements of snails or mice fed with contaminated cress or oat shoots. Both methods were sensitive enough to monitor cells and CFUs throughout the chain. There was a positive correlation between cells and CFUs. Both pathogens declined through the successive habitats, but with unexpected increased densities on plants compared to dung–soil mix. Pathogen densities were higher in the phyllosphere than the rhizosphere of cress, but for oat plants this was reverse. Survival in dung was better after passage through the digestive tract of cows than after introduction of cultures into dung. Positive correlations between pathogens and copiotrophic bacteria (CB) and dissolved organic carbon (DOC) were observed in dung and dung-soil mixtures, but at low DOC contents CB densities were higher than pathogen densities. Thus, the pathogens are able to cycle through different habitats, surviving or growing better at high DOC concentrations, but maintaining population densities that are sufficiently high to cause disease in humans
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)239-249
JournalMicrobial Ecology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • escherichia-coli o157-h7
  • manure-amended soil
  • salmonella-enterica
  • serovar typhimurium
  • indigenous microflora
  • foodborne illness
  • dairy farms
  • survival
  • contamination
  • lettuce


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