Effect of soil composition, temperature, indigenous microflora, and environmental conditions on the survival of Escherichia coli O157:H7

Sinisa Vidovic, Hushton C. Block, Darren R. Korber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations

Abstract

The survival of Escherichia coli O157:H7 in replicate soil microcosms was quantified in 2 types of silty clay loam soil (high carbon and low carbon) under either sterile or nonsterile conditions. Microcosms were held at -21, 4, and 22°C under constant soil moisture content. Differences existed (P < 0.05) in survival of E. coli O157:H7 in low- and high-carbon soil at all temperatures, indicating an important role of soil composition on the survival of this pathogen. The highest death rate of E. coli O157:H7 in sterile soil occurred in the low-carbon soil at 4°C, whereas in nonsterile soil the highest death rate was observed in the low-carbon soil at 22°C. These results suggest that the most lethal effects on E. coli O157:H7 in the sterile system occurred via the synergy of nutrient limitation and cold stress, whereas in the non-sterile system lethality was owing to inhibition by indigenous soil microorganisms and starvation. Results obtained from an in situ field survival experiment demonstrated the apparent sensitivity of E. coli O157:H7 cells to dehydration, information that may be used to reduce environmental spread of this pathogen as well as formulate appropriate waste management strategies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)822-829
Number of pages8
JournalCanadian Journal of Microbiology
Volume53
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2007

Keywords

  • Escherichia coli O157:H7
  • Lethality
  • Soil
  • Survival

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