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Keywords:

  • environmental health;
  • microbial contamination;
  • Salmonella;
  • soil;
  • veterinary

Abstract

Aim:  To investigate the inactivation of Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium and the faecal indicator Enterococcus faecalis in horse manure:soil mixtures by application of hydrated lime (Ca(OH)2).

Methods and Results:  In laboratory incubations, the inhibitory effect of different concentrations of Ca(OH)2, as well as different application techniques, was tested. Other variables were horse manure:soil ratio, incubation temperature (6 and 14°C) and soil type (sand/clay). Bacterial enumeration by the plate count method in samples taken at increasing intervals revealed that Ca(OH)2 effectively reduced Salmonella Typhimurium numbers. However, to achieve a sufficient reduction, the Ca(OH)2 had to be applied at a sufficient rate, and the amount required varied because of manure:soil ratio and incubation temperature. The results showed that a pH above 11 was needed and that a high pH had to be maintained for up to 7 days. An appropriate application technique for the Ca(OH)2 was also important, so that a high pH was obtained throughout the whole material to be treated. In addition, a high manure:soil ratio in combination with a higher incubation temperature was found to rapidly neutralize the pH and to increase the risk of Salmonella re-growth.

Conclusions:  Application of Ca(OH)2 can be an efficient method for treating a Salmonella-contaminated horse paddock. A high pH is a key factor in Salmonella inactivation, and thus, monitoring the pH during the treatment period is necessary. To avoid re-growth excess manure should be removed for separate treatment elsewhere.

Significance and Impact of the Study:  Persistence of Salmonella in horse paddocks poses a risk of disease transmission to healthy animals and people who come into contact with these animals. An efficient method to de-contaminate a Salmonella-contaminated soil would be a valuable tool for animal welfare and for public health.