Modelling the deactivation of Escherichia coli in Nigerian soils amended with differently treated manures

Vince Chukwu* (Corresponding Author), Joanne Smith, Norval Strachan, Lisa Avery

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


AIM: This study aimed to simulate deactivation of E. coli in soils amended with cattlemanure after burning, anaerobic digestion, composting or without treatment.
METHOD AND RESULTS: The Weibull survival function was used to describe deactivation of E. coli. Parameters for each treatment were determined using E. coli measurements from manure-amended soils and evaluated against measurements at different application rates. A statistically significant correlation and high coincidence between the simulated and measured values was obtained. The simulations revealed that although anaerobic digestion or burning of cattle manure effectively reduced the E. coli loads to background levels, burning retained very little nitrogen, so the ash residue was ineffective as an organic
fertiliser. Anaerobic digestion was most effective at reducing E. coli levels while retaining a high proportion of N in the bioslurry residue, but the persistence of E. coli was higher than in compost.
CONCLUSION: The results from this study suggest that the safest method for production of
organic fertiliser would involve anaerobic digestion to reduce E. coli followed by composting to reduce its persistence.
SIGNIFICANCE AND IMPACT OF STUDY: These findings are important for the development of safe methods to supply nitrogen to food crops from E. coli contaminated manures.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberlxad098
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Applied Microbiology
Issue number6
Early online date8 May 2023
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jun 2023

Bibliographical note

Open Access via the OUP Agreement
We are grateful to the School of Biological sciences, University of Aberdeen and Federation of European Microbiology Societies for providing travel and research funding for VAC. Inputs from JS were supported by the Global Challenges Research Fund “South Asian Nitrogen” Hub [grant number NE/S009019/1] and “Reducing land degradation and carbon loss from Ethiopia's soils to strengthen livelihoods and resilience (RALENTIR) [grant number ES/T003073/1].

Data Availability Statement

The data underlying this article will be shared on reasonable request to the corresponding author.


  • cattle manure
  • fertilizer
  • e. coli
  • weibull survival function
  • deactivation
  • burn
  • nitrogen


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