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Bijlsma P.B.,Elsinga Policy Planning and Innovation Ltd. | de Wit D.H.,Elsinga Policy Planning and Innovation Ltd. | Duindam J.W.,Elsinga Policy Planning and Innovation Ltd. | Elsinga G.J.,Elsinga Policy Planning and Innovation Ltd. | Elsinga W.,Elsinga Policy Planning and Innovation Ltd.
Journal of Environmental Management

This study was aimed to collect data and develop methodologies to determine if and how Dutch biowaste composting plants can meet the microbiological requirements set out in EU-Regulations (EC) 1774/2002 and (EC) 1069/2009, and to provide the European Food and Safety Authority (EFSA) with data and analysis for evaluation of these regulations. We examined twenty plant locations and four types of composting technologies, all with forced aeration and without an anaerobic digestion phase. Raw biowaste, material after sanitation and compost were sampled by spot test analysis according to a standard protocol, and according to an additional protocol with enhanced hygienic precautions. Samples were analyzed for E scherichia coli, Enterococcaceae and Salmonella content. The latter protocol resulted in improved bacterial reductions after sanitation, whereas in compost Enterococcus levels but not E. coli levels increased substantially with both protocols, due to more thermo-resistant regrowth. Salmonella presence in compost coincided with low temperatures and increased levels of E. coli and Enterococcus, absence of Salmonella was associated with absence of E. coli (74%), but not with absence of Enterococcus (17%). In compost, E. coli and Salmonella showed a comparable time-temperature inactivation pattern. A pilot study with co-composting of biowaste and poultry manure indicated a similar inactivation pattern for ESBL-containing bacteria. We conclude that the abundance of Enterococcus in compost is caused by regrowth and not by (re)contamination, and that E. coli is a more reliable indicator species for the absence/presence of Salmonella in compost. Compliance with current EU-regulations concerning biowaste composting can be shown by spot test analysis at all examined plants, provided that adequate hygienic precautions are taken during sampling. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. Source

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