Survival of a Shiga toxin-encoding bacteriophage in a compost model

Citations of this article
Mendeley users who have this article in their library.


Bacteriophages that carry the Shiga toxin gene (stx) represent an additional hazard in cattle manure-based fertilizers in that their survival could lead to toxigenic conversion of Escherichia coli and other bacteria post-composting. A Stx-phage in which the Shiga toxin (stx2) gene was inactivated by insertion of a chloramphenicol resistance gene was used in combination with a rifampicin-resistant E. coli host where RecA is constitutively activated so that all infectious phage particles could be enumerated by plaque assay. PCR-based confirmation methods and the additional application of a host enrichment protocol ensured that very low numbers of surviving bacteriophage could be detected and unequivocally identified. Stx-bacteriophage numbers declined rapidly over the first 48 h and none could be detected after 3 days. The host enrichment method was applied after 6 days and no bacteriophages were recovered. While addition of fresh E. coli cells at intervals after the compost temperature had reduced below 40°C demonstrated that E. coli growth could be supported in the compost, Stx-phages or their lysogens were never detected. Here, we demonstrate that composting animal manure for 40 days during which a temperature of >60°C is maintained for at least 5 days is effective at removing both E. coli and a model infectious Stx-encoding bacteriophage. © 2005 Federation of European Microbiological Societies. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.




Johannessen, G. S., James, C. E., Allison, H. E., Smith, D. L., Saunders, J. R., & McCarthy, A. J. (2005). Survival of a Shiga toxin-encoding bacteriophage in a compost model. FEMS Microbiology Letters, 245(2), 369–375.

Register to see more suggestions

Mendeley helps you to discover research relevant for your work.

Already have an account?

Save time finding and organizing research with Mendeley

Sign up for free