Bacterial mobilization and transport through manure enriched soils: Experiment and modeling

N. Sepehrnia*, L. Memarianfard, A. A. Moosavi, J. Bachmann, G. Guggenberger, F. Rezanezhad

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


A precise evaluation of bacteria transport and mathematical investigations are useful for best management practices in agroecosystems. In this study, using laboratory experiments and modeling approaches, we assess the transport of bacteria released from three types of manure (cow, sheep, and poultry) to find the importance of the common manures in agricultural activities in soil and water pollution. Thirty six intact soil columns with different textures (sandy, loamy, and silty clay loam) were sampled. Fecal coliform leaching from layers of the manures on the soil surface was conducted under steady-state saturated flow conditions at 20 °C for up to four Pore Volumes (PVs). Separate leaching experiments were conducted to obtain the initial concentrations of bacteria released from the manures (Co). Influent (Co) and effluent (C) bacteria concentrations were measured by the plate-count method and the normalized concentrations (C/C0) were plotted versus PV representing the breakthrough curves (BTCs). Transport parameters were predicted using the attachment/detachment model (two-kinetic site) in HYDRUS-1D. Simulations fitted well the experimental data (R2 = 0.50–0.96). The attachment, detachment, and straining coefficients of bacteria were more influenced by the soils treated with cow manure compared to the sheep and poultry manures. Influent curves of fecal coliforms from the manures (leached without soil) illustrated that the poultry manure had the highest potential to pollute the effluent water from the soils in term of concentration, but the BTCs and simulated data related to the treated soils illustrated that the physical shape of cow manure was more important to both straining and detachment of bacteria back into the soil solution. Detachment trends of bacteria were observed through loam and silty clay loam soils treated with cow manure compared to the cow manure enriched sandy soil. We conclude that management strategies must specifically minimize the effect of fecal coliform concentrations before field application, especially for the combination of poultry and cow manures, which has higher solubility and tailing behavior, respectively. Interestingly, the addition of sheep manure with all three soils had the lowest mobilization of bacteria. We also suggest studying the chemistry of soil solution affected by manures to present all relevant information which affect bacterial movement through soils during leaching.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)388-396
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Environmental Management
Early online date8 Jul 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Elsevier Ltd

We appreciate the constructive comments and discussion provided by Dr Saeed Torkzaban from CSIRO Land and Water, Australia, and Professor Mark Coyne from the University of Kentucky, USA.


  • Attachment rate
  • Detachment coefficient
  • Fecal coliform
  • Soil contamination
  • Straining
  • Water pollution


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