Journal of Applied Microbiology vol:103 issue:3 pages:53-64
Aims: Determination of the minimum requirements (time–temperature relationship and moisture content) that are needed for a sufficient eradication of an indicator organism.
Methods and Results: To determine the hygienic safety of composting processes, the indicator organism Salmonella enterica ssp. enterica serotype Senftenberg strain W 775 (further abbreviated as W 775) was artificially inoculated on a meat carrier and monitored subsequently. Different types of composting processes, e.g. composting in enclosed facilities, in open-air and in-vessel composting, were investigated. The waste feedstocks used in this work were either biowastes (i.e. vegetable, fruit and garden wastes; also called source-separated household wastes) or pure garden wastes. Beside these large-scale trials, we also conducted some lab experiments in order to determine the impact of temperature, moisture content and the presence of an indigenous microflora on the eradication of W 775. We found the temperature to be the most important parameter to eradicate W 775 from compost. When the temperature of the compost heap is 60°C and the moisture content varies between 60–65%, W 775 (108 CFU g−1) will be inactivated within 10 h of composting. The moisture content is, beside temperature, a second parameter that influences the survival of W 775. When the water content of the composting materials or meat carriers is reduced, a higher survival rate of W 775 was observed (survival rate increases 0·5 log10 unit when there is a reduction of 5% in moisture content). In addition, other parameters (such as microbial antagonism, toxic compounds, etc.) have an influence on the survival of W 775 as well.
Conclusions: Our study demonstrates that all types of composting processes tested in this work were sufficient to eradicate W 775 providing that they are well managed in terms of temperature and moisture content.
Significance and Impact of the Study: To give a better view on the parameters of importance for the eradication of W 775 during composting.