Compost Heap. Horse Manure. Pathogens.

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I have a couple of large compost bins on my allotment which I regularly fill with compostable materials from home, but this only accounts for a few percent.
For the most part, I go to the local riding stables where they bag up the horse manure and leave it outside for people to take for free.
In the winter time, when the horses are inside the stables, the mix is heavy with straw and bedding. But now in the warmer months with the horses outside , it is mainly stuff gathered straight off the paddock areas where the horses pass their days.
The thing is this. The bins are 4'x3'x3' and I just do not have the energy or strength to turn them. So , in effect they are cold compost heaps. I let the contents rot down over a 2 year period.
But is there a danger that the pathogens in the horse dung will not die off (as they would if I were operating a hot heap) and that my family could become seriously ill if I use this composted material on my vegetable plot even if it is 2 years old?
Ed (South-East UK)
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There is no concern with pathogens with manure from vegetarian beasts except perhaps if you know the beast to be ill with a disease transmittable to humans. In your case I'd be more concerned with viable weed seeds.
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On 15/07/09 16:12, brooklyn1 wrote:

Weeds aren't a great problem for me.. I got the time and I love weeding most days. Most of my weeds anyway are in-blown from other plots so I always expect them.
But thanks for the re-assurance on the pathogens though. I'd hate to grow my own crops and then find I make my family ill.
Ed
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Ed, your biggest concern should be whether or not the horse's paddock was sprayed with a broadleaf herbicide. The herbicide will pass harmlessly through the horse and wipe out you garden. Check with the source of your manure, it would be heartbreaking to have that happen. Cheers, Steve
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FarmI wrote last Oct. "I also spread horse poop as it comes (often almost still steaming) straight onto garden beds and it results in a huge worm population explosion."
I might mention that she is still with us, which argues favorably for the use of fresh manure. Most will caution against getting fresh manure on the edible parts of the plant (touching or splashed) for at least 3 months.
More often the advice is to work fresh manure into the ground 3 months before planting.
Standard procedure is to compost (hot or cold) for 6 months before use, or to incorporate it into the soil in the fall.
--

- Billy

There are three kinds of men: The ones that learn by reading. The few who
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Yeah, I'm still here. Nothing wrong with me other than the red spots all over, the squint, the gummy jaws, the baldness and the limp.........
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In article

These ideosyncracies only add character to our siren of the soil.
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- Billy

"For the first time in the history of the world, every human being is
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Yes, indeed. Farmyard or stable manure is wonderful stuff if you can get it, but there's one particular herbicide persisting in manure that has caused quite serious problems for some allotmenteers and gardeners in recent years. There's info on the RHS site: http://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/profiles0708/Weedkiller-manure.asp
It can also be quite difficult to actually find out if any particular load is 'clean', unless the source can be absolutely certain that all their feed and bedding is clear too, because of buying and selling of hay and silage feed.
One case I know of locally happened where cattle manure from one farm where they didn't use this stuff was affected, unbeknownst to the farmer, due to contaminated feed and hay bought in from elsewhere.
--
Sue


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That is essentially true. There are very few diseases with sufficiently resistant spores that they will survive any form of composting, and most of those are extremely implausible. None will contaminate vegetables, anyway, and the only risk is getting the compost into a cut, eating it if you don't wash it off, etc.
The only ones that are at all likely are carried by cats and other carnivores, as you say. Worrying about tetanus and anthrax is not a productive activity ....
Regards, Nick Maclaren.
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"Ed" wrote ...

Pathogens in Horse dung? Please advise what and any scientific papers that back it up. I know it is a big carrier of Tetanus but not heard about anything else of concern. "No major human disease has ever been accurately attributed to the intimate contact human beings have had with horses for thousands of years. Veterinarians and vet students probably have the greatest exposure to true risk from horse manure. The horse has a very inefficient gut: it's a one-way throughput system. Horses are physiologically incapable of vomiting or regurgitating. If something gets stuck on the way through, the only way to get it out is by surgery or physical intervention. As a result, you will often find vets armpit deep under a horse's tail. Nevertheless, there has never been a documented case of veterinarians contracting illness as a result of this rather extreme true exposure to horse manure."
We use well rotted 1 year old stuff and have never had any trouble.
--
Regards
Bob Hobden
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Try anthrax.
However, with both tetanus and anthrax, you are likely to have trouble only if the dung comes from a stable where they shovel dead horses out with the bedding. Not generally the case ....
Regards, Nick Maclaren.
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Oh, nuts! WHAT increase in tetanus and gas-gangrene in the UK?
The historical dangers were because a LOT of farm animals died from tetanus, anthrax etc. and the spores were everywhere. Well, they still are, but are not transmitted by that route any more because of the efficiency with which infected animals are detected and disposed of. Yes, keep your tetanus innoculation up to date, but don't use two century old information as a guide to safe practices.
A lot of the others you mention are something that most people have some immunity to, or even aren't pathogens at all (for example, you NEED E. coli to stay healthy). There is also increasing evidence that preventing children from being exposed to them increases the risk of much more serious problems. Exercise your immune system and stop fussing.
Yes, of course, some people are at special risk. Don't START training your immune system in old age or when ill, and so on.
Regards, Nick Maclaren.
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snipped-for-privacy@cam.ac.uk wrote:

Depends which E. coli you are talking about. Many strains are highly pathogenic; I wouldn't like 0157 in me, for example, immunosuppressed or not. More info here if you don't mind being too bored: http://textbookofbacteriology.net/e.coli.html
--
Jeff



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For "highly", read "slightly"!
I wouldn't worry about 0157 - indeed, I may have it, for all I know to the contrary - as it is dangerous only to the very young, very old and immunosuppressed. If you look at the reference you gave, most of the pathogenic forms are described as dangerous to infants.
All forms (even the symbiotic ones) are dangerous if they grow in the wrong place, which is one of the reasons you need immunity to a wide range of them.
Regards, Nick Maclaren.
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wrote:

In the Odwall Apple juice case an 18 month old infant died. In the Dole spinach case, 3 octagenarians died, and in the latest, Nestle Toll House Refrigerated Cookie Dough, no one died. However, it is reported that e. coli O157:H7 really opens the sluices at both ends. Maybe not deadly, but not a walk in the park, either.
The FDA suggested that you "contact your health care professional immediately, if you or your family have recently eaten recalled cookie dough and have had stomach cramps, vomiting, or diarrhea, with or without bloody stools."
'Nuff said.

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- Billy

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snipped-for-privacy@cam.ac.uk wrote:

Depends. May be true for neonatal meningitis (1:2000), but certainly not for UTI. Quote "Uropathogenic E. coli (UPEC) cause 90% of the urinary tract infections (UTI) in anatomically-normal, unobstructed urinary tracts.". I am amazed that the figure is so high. There are a lot of women out there with UTIs caused by UPEC.

I'm not arguing about how dangerous it is, merely commenting on pathogenicity. I've not had E. coli gut problems, but have had Salmonella, so can speak from experience about the pathogenicity of bacteria affecting the gut. Certainly not dangerous, but very debilitating, especially in a tropical climate.

True for neonatal meningitis (couldn't really be anything else with that name!). but not so for UTI - see above quote.

I definitely agree with you on that. Constant exposure to low levels of bacteria is needed to keep the immune system ticking over properly. "Use it or lose it" applies here!
--
Jeff



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I believe that you have misunderstood that. What I have been told and read is that ALL variants are uropathogenic, if they establish there, and the vast majority of such infections are normal gut flora that have got into the wrong place. And it's not rare in men, either! So what it means is that 90% of such UTIs are E. coli, variant unknown. They don't usually bother to serotype further, as it doesn't affect the treatment.
So one recommendation should definitely be not to indulge in kinky practices with fresh horse manure :-)
More seriously, that is the reason for the various hand washing and body washing order recommendations, and instructions to parents on how to bathe children, especially girls.
Regards, Nick Maclaren.
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it is a trade off, but organically produced food is safer according to this report......
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/31766160/ns/health-food_safety /
"Avoiding MRSA Follow these tips to help reduce your risk of exposure to MRSA in meats: Shop smarter Look for the USDA organic seal. Organic meat might be less likely to have antibiotic-resistant or disease-causing organisms, as the animal hasn't been fed antibiotics, hormones to promote growth, or animal by-products. Other labels, such as no antibiotics added, are not verified by independent testing. Log on to eatwellguide.org to search for listings of stores and restaurants that offer no-antibiotic-use, grass-fed, or organic meats. Stock up on nonmeat protein sources such as beans, lentils, and tofu and swap them in for meat now and then. Visit prevention.com/veggies for recipe ideas. "
"You may not have the same close contact with meat that a processing plant worker has, but scientists warn there is reason for concern: Most of us handle meat daily, as we bread chicken cutlets, trim fat from pork, or form chopped beef into burgers. Cooking does kill the microbe, but MRSA thrives on skin, so you can contract it by touching infected raw meat when you have a cut on your hand, explains Stuart Levy, MD, a Tufts University professor of microbiology and medicine. MRSA also flourishes in nasal passages, so touching your nose after touching meat gives the bug another way into your body, adds Smith.
Tainted meat exposed Extensive research in Europe and Asia has found MRSA in many food animal species, and in the past year, US researchers have begun testing meat sold here. Scientists at Louisiana State University Agricultural Center tested 120 cuts of locally purchased meat and found MRSA in 4 percent of the pork and 1 percent of the beef. A University of Maryland scientist found it in 1 out of 300 pork samples from the Washington, DC, area. And a study in Canada (from which we import thousands of tons of meat annually) found MRSA in 9 percent of 212 pork samples. The percentages may be small, but according to the USDA, Americans eat more than 180 million pounds of meat every day. "When you consider the tiny size of the meat studies, the fact that they found any contamination at all is amazing," says Steven Roach, public health program director for Food Animal Concerns Trust.
In some cases, the tainted meat probably came from infected animals; in others, already infected humans could have passed on MRSA to the meat during processing. Regardless of where it originated, even a small proportion of contaminated meat could mean a tremendous amount of MRSA out there. "We need more US research to figure out what's going on," says Roach."
Somewhere between zone 5 and 6 tucked along the shore of Lake Michigan on the council grounds of the Fox, Mascouten, Potawatomi, and Winnebago
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snipped-for-privacy@cam.ac.uk wrote:

Sorry missing clause in original post. Should have read :-

The various enteritis illness, some trivial some not so, have increased in frequency by a couple of orders of magnitude since the 1960's. If you refer back to your old bacteriology notes you will see that Cl. tet. and Cl Wel. are both common commensals in the herbivore gut and their sporulation occurs in the soil after the horse or cow has excreted the bugs. Sure, tetanus and gas-gangrene are now rare in the UK; probably because any injury requiring even outpatient treatment get an AT shot as routine. From time to time cases occur of very trivial injuries - eg thorn prickles whilst pruning, which are not considered worth further attention until tetanus has developed.
Yep, we all need or resident E. coli - but not one of the enteropathic strains. If you are into organic methods treat any edible produce as contaminated
rjbl
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Oh, really? Do you have any evidence that this is anything more than a recording artifact? Back in the 1960s, most people didn't call a doctor for mere D&V, whereas they do now. Related to this, there has been a HUGE increase in the number of people who are seriously infirm, because modern medical aid prevents them dying from other causes.
A secondary effect, which particularly affects the serious incidents, is that the population has much less immunity now than it did then, because it has not had the exposure. It isn't clear how much that affects the statistics.
Regards, Nick Maclaren.
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