MICROBIOLOGY of WASTES & COMPOSTING
Fecal coliform / Clostridium spp. / Salmonella Isolates / E. coli 0157-H7
Woods End’s microbiology laboratory provides highly qualified testing relative to microbiological quality and safety of manures, composts and other organic soil-amendment products.
People frequently ask- why test compost microbiologically? Microbes confer many very positive traits on compost. They are also a source of concern with regard to pathogens.
Compost is considered highly desirable for soil amending and is generally believed to be pathogen-free. Examining a compost for absence of pathogens is a means to assure safety in view of food-chain uses. Once tested and passed in this manner, there should be no reason that the product would be unsafe for a variety of purposes.
For convenience, we provide this link to ask the question Why test Composts for Pathogens?
Among the services we provide:
- To determine microbial plate counts, fungal counts and microbial-activity in composts.
- Aerobic / anaerobic plate counts and bacterial biomass
- Spore forming bacteria and VAM spores
- Total fungal counts and biomass
- Actinomycete plate count
- Bacillus plate count (subtillus and cereus).
- Protozoa/ Nematode counts and characterizations
- Fluorescent pseudomonads
- To measure EPA-503 potential pathogens in biosolids and compost amendments.
- Salmonella (new EPA #1682 method)
- Fecal coliform (new EPA #1680 method)
- To evaluate finished composts for hygienic standards.
- Escherichia coli
- E. coli-0157.H7
- Listeria spp.
- Clostridium perfringens
- Fecal streptococci
- Enterococci spp.
- To evaluate ability of a compost product or growth medium to suppress several common fungal pathogens.
- Bioassay of compost product or growing medium by challenging with specific fungal pathogens
- Manipulate assays to determine best use of compost or growth medium
COMPOST TEA TESTING SERVICES – We provide a range of analytical services specific to use of compost teas for disease suppression and nutrient supply. Our experience includes use with vegetables (cucumbers, strawberries) and viticulture. Please go to the Compost Tea Page or Click here to download list of compost tea testing services.
Woods End staff have written and published widely on topics of compost microbiology. Among some of the relevant papers and journal articles are:
Droffner, M.L. & W. F. Brinton (1993) Survival of E. coli and Salmonella after thermophilic composting as indicated by gene probe methods. ASM Abstracts 93rd ASM General Meeting, Atlanta
Droffner, M.L. and N. Yamamoto (1992) Demonstration of cel operon expression in Escherichia, Salmonella, and Pseudomonas at elevated temperatures refractory to growth. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 58, 1784-85
Brinton, W and M Droffner (1994) MICROBIAL APPROACHES TO CHARACTERIZATION OF COMPOSTING PROCESSES/ Compost Science & Utilization.
Brinton, W.F, A. Tränkner, M. Droffner. (1995) Investigations into liquid compost extracts. Biocycle 37:(2)
Brinton, W. (1995). The control of plant pathogenic fungi by use of compost teas. Journal of Biodynamics 197:12-15
Droffner,M WF. Brinton Jr, E Evans (1995) Evidence for the prominence of well characterized mesophilic bacteria in thermophilic (50–70°C) composting environments. Biomass and Bioenergy Volume 8, Issue 3, 1995, Pages 191–195
Droffner, M.L. and W.F. Brinton (1994) Survival of E. coli and Salmonella Populations during aerobic thermophilic composting as demonstrated with DNA gene probes. App. Environ. Microbiol.
Brinton, W.F.; Storms, P. Blewett, T.C. (2009) Occurrence and Levels of Fecal Indicators and Pathogenic Bacteria in Market-Ready Recycled Organic Matter Composts. Journal of Food Protection, Volume 72, Number 2 , pp. 332-339(8)
W. Brinton*, P. Storms, E. Evans, and J. Hill (2004) Compost Teas: Microbial Hygiene and Quality In Relation to Method of Preparation . Jrnl of Biodynamics
Brinton, W. (2004) Microbiological test traits and hygiene of compost products. Proceedings, World Congress on Hygiene of Organic Farming. Michigan State University, March 2004
Millner, P., D. Ingram, W. Brinton, and P. Storms. (2003). Compost tea microbial safety issues: information and data summary. Manuscript, USDA-ARS-SMSL and WERL
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