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Inactivation of E. coli O157:H7 in Cultivable Soil by Fast and Slow Pyrolysis-Generated Biochar
- Gurtler, Joshua B., Boateng, Akwasi A., Han, Yanxue (Helen), Douds, David D.
- Foodborne pathogens & disease 2013
- Escherichia coli O157, Panicum virgatum, Quercus, bacterial contamination, biochar, food contamination, fresh produce, hardwood, horse manure, pathogen survival, pyrolysis, risk, soil
- An exploratory study was performed to determine the influence of fast pyrolysis (FP) and slow pyrolysis (SP) biochars on enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli O157:H7 (EHEC) in soil. Soil + EHEC (inoculated at 7 log colony-forming units [CFU]/g of soil) + 1 of 12 types of biochar (10% total weight:weight in soil) was stored at 22°C and sampled for 8 weeks. FP switchgrass and FP horse litter biochars inactivated 2.8 and 2.1 log CFU/g more EHEC than no-biochar soils by day 14. EHEC was undetectable by surface plating at weeks 4 and 5 in standard FP switchgrass, FP oak, and FP switchgrass pellet biochars. Conversely, EHEC populations in no-biochar control samples remained as high as 5.8 and 4.0 log CFU/g at weeks 4 and 5, respectively. Additionally, three more SP hardwood pellet biochars (generated at 500°C for 1 h, or 2 h, or generated at 700°C for 30 min) inactivated greater numbers of EHEC than did the no-biochar control samples during weeks 4 and 5. These results suggest that biochar can inactivate E. coli O157:H7 in cultivable soil, which might mitigate risks associated with EHEC contamination on fresh produce.