Untreated poultry litter introduces a substantial load of fecal pathogens to the environment, impacting agriculture, public health and ecosystem function. There is substantial evidence that temperature and moisture are the primary drivers of fecal bacteria survival across ecosystems. However, both temperature and moisture effects have been shown to be modulated by the matrix in which the fecal bacteria are living. This context dependence highlights the importance of understanding fecal bacteria survival in a variety of matrices in order to implement effective waste management plans. In this study, we determined the survival patterns of Enterococcus faecium in post-use turkey litter under two levels of temperature (5°C, 30°C) and moisture (E. faecium abundance did not change over the course of 14 days. However, at 30°C, the low moisture treatment resulted in 23% decrease in E. faecium concentration over 14 days, while the high moisture treatment resulted in 16% growth over the course of the experiment. Since high temperature is usually sufficient to result in fecal bacteria decay in other matrices, this study highlights the context dependence of fecal bacteria survival. Furthermore, poultry litter waste-management plans should consider both temperature and moisture of litter storage conditions in order to mitigate litter impacts on public health.
McBride, S. G., B. Holland, P. Vasudevan, and J. B. Mott. 2022. Survival of Enterococcus faecium in Turkey Litter Under Different Temperature and Moisture Combinations. Virginia Journal of Science 73 (1-2): 1-11. https://doi.org/10.25778/sa5e-wr63