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Journal of Environmental Quality Abstract - Waste Management

Inactivation of Ascaris suum in a Biodrying Compost System


This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 36 No. 5, p. 1528-1533
    Received: Dec 2, 2006

    * Corresponding author(s): tss1@cornell.edu
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  1. Amy S. Collicka,
  2. Scott Inglisa,
  3. Peter Wrightb,
  4. Tammo S. Steenhuis *a and
  5. Dwight D. Bowmanc
  1. a Biological and Environmental Engineering Dep., Cornell Univ., Ithaca, NY 14853
    b USDA-Natural Resource Conservation Service, Syracuse State Office, Syracuse, NY
    c Microbiology and Immunology, School of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell Univ., Ithaca, NY 14853


Pathogen contamination of waterways is a serious concern in dairy farming areas where livestock waste is applied to agricultural fields. As an alternative, a biodrying composting system dries collected livestock waste, reduces the strong odors, and has been proposed as a means of reducing, and even eliminating pathogens present in the waste. Therefore, the survival of pathogens in a biodrying composting system was investigated. Dairy farm livestock waste was piled in a biodrying storage shed where forced aeration and natural decomposition processes heated a major portion of the waste pile to temperatures exceeding 55°C. Ascaris suum eggs were used as the surrogate species and inoculated into special chambers and placed at three different elevations at different intervals along the length of the pile. Control chambers were stored in water at 4°C in the laboratory. Both compost and control chambers were removed at Day 4, 8, 12, 16, and 20. The eggs were extracted from the chamber medium and analyzed for viability. No viable eggs were recovered from any of the chambers removed from the compost pile, while ≥90% viability was observed in the control chambers. High temperatures and continued drying were the major contributing factors to the inactivation of the helminth eggs. The complete inactivation of A. suum eggs by the biodrying process encourages the storage and treatment of manure to high temperatures and reduced moisture conditions before field spreading to reduce the risk of harmful pathogens contaminating waterways and potential drinking water supplies.

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Copyright © 2007. American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, Soil Science SocietyAmerican Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, and Soil Science Society of America