Afolabi EO, Quilliam RS & Oliver DM (2020) Impact of Freeze-Thaw Cycles on Die-Off of E. coli and Intestinal Enterococci in Deer and Dairy Faeces: Implications for Landscape Contamination of Watercourses. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 17 (19), p. 6999. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17196999
Characterising faecal indicator organism (FIO) survival in the environment is important for informing land management and minimising public health risk to downstream water users. However, key gaps in knowledge include understanding how wildlife contribute to catchment-wide FIO sources and how FIO survival is affected by low environmental temperatures. The aim of this study was to quantify E. coli and intestinal enterococci die-off in dairy cow versus red deer faecal sources exposed to repeated freeze–thaw cycles under controlled laboratory conditions. Survival of FIOs in water exposed to freeze–thaw was also investigated to help interpret survival responses. Both E. coli and intestinal enterococci were capable of surviving sub-freezing conditions with the faeces from both animals able to sustain relatively high FIO concentrations, as indicated by modelling, and observations revealing persistence in excess of 11 days and in some cases confirmed beyond 22 days. Die-off responses of deer-derived FIOs in both faeces and water exposed to low temperatures provide much needed information to enable better accounting of the varied catchment sources of faecal pollution and results from this study help constrain the parameterisation of die-off coefficients to better inform more integrated modelling and decision-making for microbial water quality management.
faecal pollution; indicator organisms; microbial contamination; land management; water quality; wildlife faeces
International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health: Volume 17, Issue 19
|Publication date online||24/09/2020|
|Date accepted by journal||21/09/2020|