Summary of Awards to Date

Escherichia coli O157:H7 in bioaerosols from cattle production areas: evaluation of proximity and airborne transport on leafy green crop contamination.

Date

Jan. 1, 2011 - Dec. 31, 2012

Award Number

2011-136

Funding Agency

Center for Produce Safety

Amount Awarded

$296,360.00

Investigator

Elaine D. Berry, Ph.D.
USDA - ARS

Co-Investigator(s)

J. Wells

Summary

A clear role for dust or wind in the transport of Escherichia coli 0157:H7 from cattle to produce
crops has not been determined. The research objectives are to: (1) Determine if E. coli 0157:H7
is transported by dust or wind from cattle production to leafy green crops, and (2) Determine
the impacts of environmental conditions and proximity on any dust/wind transmission of E. coli
0157:H7. In each of two years, spinach will be planted in plots at distances from 60 to 180
meters from a cattle feedlot. Spinach plants will be collected every two weeks and examined
for E. coli 0157:H7 and nonpathogenic E. coli. Weather data, including rainfall volumes and
intensity, air temperature, wind direction and speed, and relative humidity will be recorded at
15-min intervals by an on-site weather station. Thus, if E. coli 0157:H7 is found to be
transmitted to spinach by dust or wind, the effects of distance and other environmental factors
on the transport process can be determined. This information is critical to the produce industry
for understanding the risks associated with growing crops in close proximity to cattle
production, and for determining safe distances between cattle feedlots and crop production.