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Investigation of bacterial pathogens associated with concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) and their potential impacts on a National Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma: Final report

According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA), run off from agricultural lands is one of the greatest contributors of pollutants to surface waters in this country. Major agricultural pollutants include bacterial pathogens and nutrients that originate from animal wastes.

Several concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) are located in close proximity to the Salt Plains National Wildlife Refuge in Alfalfa County, Oklahoma; it is our understanding that these facilities are not US EPA registered. The goal of this study was to survey refuge surface water and sediment for known bacterial pathogens of wildlife, especially waterfowl, which may have originated from CAFO wastes. Sampling was conducted during the spring, summer, and fall of 2001 and 2002 at ten sites located on watersheds downstream of agricultural sites. Bacterial indicators of fecal contamination (fecal coliforms and fecal streptococci) were identified and counted in surface water samples. Fecal coliform levels exceeded US EPA human recreational bathing water limits in 22 of 50 samples, and fecal streptococcus numbers exceeded human recreational bathing limits in 47 of 50 samples. Antibiotic resistance profiles were determined for a subset of fecal colifom and fecal streptococcus isolates. The tested isolates were frequently resistant to ceftiofur, enrofloxacin, and tetracycline, antibiotics commonly administered to livestock. In addition, surface water and sediment samples were analyzed for the presence of bacteria (Clostridium botulinum type C, toxigenic Escherichia coli, Erysipelothrix spp., Pasteurella multocida, Salmonella spp., and Yersinia spp) with pathogenic potential to wild and domestic animals. Of the organisms surveyed, salmonellae and escherichiae were isolated. The data presented herein will provide a benchmark for future studies investigating the potential long term environmental effects of agricultural practices on the Salt Plains National Wildlife Refuge.

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États-Unis d'Amérique
agINFRA The RING is part of the agINFRA project EC 7th framework program INFRA-2011-1.2.2 - Grant agr. no: 283770