Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2016NC210B

Understanding how land use characteristics affect the prevalence of antibiotic resistant, virulent E. coli and host-specific markers in watersheds with and without swine CAFOs

Institute: North Carolina
Year Established: 2016 Start Date: 2016-09-01 End Date: 2017-08-31
Total Federal Funds: $7,500 Total Non-Federal Funds: $2,039

Principal Investigators: Jill Stewart, Elizabeth Christenson

Abstract: This project will compare nonpoint source pathogen contamination from water samples collected from watersheds in North Carolina with different land uses. Specifically, my proposed research is to determine how similarly sized, agricultural watersheds with and without swine concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) contribute to nonpoint source water pollution by analyzing prevalence of antibiotic resistant Escherichia coli (E. coli) and quantifying hostspecific genetic markers and human virulence genes. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) cites pathogens as the largest cause of surface water impairment, and EPA attributes the most probable source to agriculture from field runoff.1 In swine CAFOs, large volumes of manure are typically stored in deep, open-air lagoons and subsequently sprayed onto sprayfields as fertilizer for crops. Without proper nutrient management and manure application procedures, nutrients and pathogens can leach into groundwater or be transported to surface water as runoff.