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Fate of key food-borne pathogens associated with intensive pig and poultry farming environments

Chinivasagam, Helene Nalini (2013). Fate of key food-borne pathogens associated with intensive pig and poultry farming environments. PhD Thesis, Charles Darwin University.

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Author Chinivasagam, Helene Nalini
Title Fate of key food-borne pathogens associated with intensive pig and poultry farming environments
Institution Charles Darwin University
Publication Date 2013
Thesis Type PhD
Subjects 0599 - Other Environmental Sciences
0502 - Environmental Science and Management
Abstract Intensive pig and poultry farming in Australia can be a source of pathogens with implications for food-safety and/or human illness.

Seven studies were undertaken with the following objectives:
 Assess the types of zoonotic pathogens in waste
 Assess the transfer of pathogens during re-use both within the shed and externally in the environment
 The potential for movement of pathogens via aerosols

In the first and second studies the extent of zoonotic pathogens was evaluated in both piggery effluent and chicken litter and Salmonella and Campylobacter were detected in both wastes.

In the third study the dynamics of Salmonella during litter re-use was examined and results showed a trend for lower Salmonella levels and serovar diversity in re-used litter compared to new litter. Thus, re-use within the poultry farming system posed no increased risk.

The fourth study addressed the direct risks of pathogens to farm workers due to reuse of piggery effluent within the pig shed. Based on air-borne Escherichia coli (E. coli) levels, re-using effluent did not pose a risk.

In the fifth study high levels of Arcobacter spp. were detected in effluent ponds and freshly irrigated soils with potential food-safety risks during the irrigation of food-crops and pasture.

The sixth and seventh studies addressed the risks from aerosols from mechanically ventilated sheds. Staphylococci were shown to have potential as markers, with airborne levels gradually dropping and reaching background levels at 400 m distance. Salmonella was detected (at low levels) both inside and outside the shed (at 10 m). Campylobacter was detected only once inside the shed during the 3-year period (at low levels). Results showed there was minimal risk to humans living adjacent to poultry farms

This is the first comprehensive analysis studying key food-safety pathogens and potential public health risks associated with intensively farmed pigs and poultry in Australia.

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