Retention modes of manure-fecal coliforms in soil under saturated hydraulic condition

N. Sepehrnia*, L. Memarianfard, A. A. Moosavi, J. Bachmann, F. Rezanezhad, M. Sepehri

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Manures are important soil nutrient conditioners and source of several pathogenic bacteria that potentially contribute to groundwater and surface water pollution. The best management practices need a solid understanding of manure sources, concentrations, and strategies to limit the number of bacteria in natural soil environment. In this study, a series of soil column experiments were conducted to investigate how bacteria mobility can potentially be influenced by retention mechanisms while moving through undisturbed saturated soil. This was assessed by bacteria retention profiles and mobility indices including the maximum transported (Cmax-T) and retained (Cmax-R) concentrations, filtration coefficient (λf) and the maximum depth of bacteria transport (Zmax). Three different soil samples (sandy, loamy and silty clay loam) were enriched with three types of manures (cow, sheep, and poultry), placed on top of three soil columns (16 cm diameter, 30 cm height) with an equivalent of 10 Mg ha−1 (dry basis) summing up to a total of 36 columns. Leaching was performed under saturated steady-state conditions (i.e., 1.62 cm min−1) for a duration of 4 pore volumes. After percolation, soil columns were sliced into six 5-cm interval layers and slices were characterized for retained bacteria. Results showed irregular exponential or quasi-exponential bacteria retention profiles for cow and sheep manures, whereas uniform-shaped profiles occurred for poultry manure. The latter variant also switched to exponential shape for the sandy soil at the highest and lowest Cmax-T and Cmax-R values due to higher pore water velocity. The λf and the Zmax values were also found to be affected by soil texture and manure origin. The λf was higher for poultry manure due to higher free-cell transport of bacteria most probably induced by higher amount of soluble mobile components. However, the greater amounts of transported wooden materials released from cow and sheep manures acted as harbors for bacteria. Accordingly, the filtration rate decreased and tailing effects for bacteria transport increased. The results also suggest that the practices and strategies for using manures could be optimized according to the respective transport behavior to manage the bacteria retention with respect to soil and manure types to reduce soil and water pollution.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)209-215
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Environmental Management
Early online date4 Sept 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding for this project was provided by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), ID: 57210260 . We thank Mr. Mojtaba Jafari-haghighi from Department of Soil Science, Shiraz University , Iran for his assistance with laboratory analysis of particle size distributions.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Elsevier Ltd


  • Bacteria pollution
  • Deposition
  • Fecal coliform
  • Manure
  • Transport and retain


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