Prevalence of bacterial faecal pathogens in separated and unseparated stored pig slurry

M Watabe, JR Rao, TA Stewart, J Xu, BC Millar, L Xiao, Colm Lowery, James Dooley, JE Moore

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29 Citations (Scopus)


Aims: To examine the prevalence and diversity of bacterial faecal pathogens in unseparated slurry, separated solids and liquid fractions from a commercial pig farm. Methods: A total of 43 stored slurry specimens originating from a fattening house over the period February-April 2002 were analysed, consisting of unseparated (n = 14) slurry, separated solids (n = 16) and separated liquid (n = 13). Specimens were examined for the presence of five bacterial pathogens including Salmonella spp., Shigella spp., Campylobacter spp., Escherichia coli O157 and Yersinia enterocolitica . Selective enrichment and plating methods were employed for detection of Salmonella spp. and Campylobacter spp. and conventional selective plating techniques for the remaining genera. Antibiogram profiles to 12 antibiotic agents were obtained for all Salmonella isolates obtained. Results: Salmonella spp. were identified in all components of the slurry specimens, whereas Campylobacter spp. was only recovered from the unseparated and separated liquid fractions. In both cases, the separated liquid fraction had the highest prevalence of pathogens and the separated solid fraction had the lowest prevalence. None of the slurry specimens examined were positive for E. coli O157:H7, Shigella spp. or Y. enterocolitica . Twenty-nine isolates of Salmonella were recovered from the slurry specimens, comprising seven serovars, of which Salmonella manhattan was the most prevalent, accounting for over half [15 of 29 (51.7%)] of all Salmonella isolates. Salmonella anatum , Salm. derby , Salm. give , Salm. heidelberg , Salm. simi and Salm. stanley serovars were also recovered. All Salmonella isolates were sensitive to ampicillin, augmentin (amoxicillin/clavulanic acid), chloramphenicol, ciprofloxacin, gentamicin, kanamycin and trimethoprim, but has variable resistance to tetracycline (100%), sulphonamides (84.6%), furazolidone (38.5%), nalidixic acid (15.4%) and streptomycin (15.4%). The majority (57.7%) of isolates displayed antibiotic resistance to at least two antibiotic agents, followed by 34.6% of isolates being resistant to three agents and the remainder (7.7%) being resistant to four antibiotics. Significance and Impact of the Study: This study demonstrated a marked reduction in the prevalence of Campylobacter and Salmonella in the solids component of separated pig slurry. The adoption of control processes such as aeration of slurry prior to its spread onto agricultural land and newer approaches to pathogen reduction should be investigated, to reduce the transmission of pathogens from pig slurry to the environment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)208-212
JournalLetters in Applied Microbiology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 2003


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