Abstract #232

# 232
Assessing the impact of bovine fecal contamination in water on health and management practices.
Sarah J. Thomsen*1, Jillian F. Bohlen1, J. Brooks Crozier2, 1University of Georgia, Athens, GA, 2Roanoke College, Salem, VA.

The objective of the experiment was to determine the survival and then relationship between E. coli O157:H7 and a bovine fecal marker in river water in a set of sequential experiments. Microcosms of river water and sediment were created in 500-mL sampling bottles. In the first module, E. coli O157:H7 was inoculated into water samples (125 mL sediment, 400 mL water); in another experimental setup, 1 g of dairy cattle manure was inoculated into the microcosms (150 mL sediment, 300 mL water). Both setups had control groups. Throughout a period of one week, samples were collected; on d 7, an initial sample was collected and all were shaken to represent a disturbance in the water and sampled again. All samples underwent DNA extraction and polymerase chain reaction, utilizing the specific markers eae gene in E. coli and bovine Bacteroides in the manure to indicate presence or absence. In both experiments, data supported presence of the desired markers after inoculation 24 h, but were absent by the end of the week. However, both experimental setups were also positive for the markers 2 out of 3 times in the samples when shaken after one week. This data supports the theory that markers remain present in the sediment even after one week. These data were then used to consider different management practices to better human and herd health, in addition to farm efficiency, with the hope to reduce fecal contamination into water sources. The goal of the experiment was to examine the survival of a harmful strain of E. coli and a bovine fecal marker. The bovine fecal marker was used as pathogenic fecal coliforms like E. coli can be transferred through bovine feces. This makes bovine feces not only a home but a mobile mechanism by which harmful and zoonotic pathogens may contaminate water supplies. These contaminations may be direct or by indirect sources such as runoff. These realities generate health concerns for both humans and animals with a need to minimize fecal deposition and access to water sources through best dairy management practices.

Key Words: E. coli, water, fecal contamination