Survival of Campylobacter spp. in bovine faeces on pasture


Brent J. Gilpin, Christchurch Science Centre, ESR, P.O. Box 29–181, Christchurch, New Zealand. E-mail:


Aims:  To determine the survival on pasture of Campylobacter spp. naturally present in bovine faeces and compare this with a previously published study using laboratory-cultured Campylobacter spp.

Methods and Results:  Ten freshly collected cow pats were deposited on pasture during summer, and Campylobacter spp. were enumerated by enrichment broth culture. The counts in three pats were below detection limits. Counts of Campylobacter spp. in the other seven pats fell below detection limits within 14 days. The geometric means of the counts up to 7 days produced a T90 of 2·2 days. Characterization of Campylobacter spp. by PCR and pulsed field gel electrophoresis indicated the presence of at least six genotypes of Campylobacter jejuni, Campylobacter coli and Campylobacter lari.

Conclusions: Campylobacter spp. naturally present in cow faeces exhibited a similar survival rate to that previously determined using laboratory-cultured strains. The highly variable counts of naturally occurring Campylobacter spp., and the predominance of lower counts, also support the earlier decision to use laboratory-cultured strains in survival experiments.

Significance and Impact of the Study:  This study reaffirms the short survival of Campylobacter spp. in cow faeces deposited on pasture. This information will be incorporated into a ‘reservoir model’ for Campylobacter spp. in cow pats on New Zealand pastures.