Short communication: Turbidity as an indicator of Escherichia coli presence in water troughs on cattle farms

R. P. Smith, G. A. Paiba, Johanne Ellis-Iversen

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Studies have shown that water-drinking troughs are an important source of Escherichia coli infection on cattle farms, and a study was designed to provide farmers with an easy-to-use tool to monitor trough contamination and help determine when to empty and clean water troughs. A total of 164 water troughs were sampled on 33 cattle farms, and the on-farm turbidity tester results were found to be significantly correlated with laboratory turbidity results. Turbidity was associated with E. coli concentration, although the association was not linear. Emptying the troughs within a week of sampling was shown to reduce the turbidity score, but no linear association between time of emptying and E. coli concentration was discovered. A turbidity score of 4 was set as a cutoff point for when to clean a trough, yielding a sensitivity of 0.94 and a specificity of 0.03 for identifying a level of E. coli concentration that was more likely to contain E. coli O157 (> 5,800 cfu/100 mL).
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal Of Dairy Science
Volume91
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)2082-2085
Number of pages4
ISSN0022-0302
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Drinking water
  • England and Wales
  • Escherichia coli
  • Turbidity

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