Pathogen uptake in plant tissue - lat...

The International Compost Sanitation Forum and Message Board: General Composting Issues: Pathogen uptake in plant tissue - latest information
Author: Emma Holister (Emma_holister)
Monday, December 15, 2008 - 8:07 am
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Coming from a related field of activism which is likewise fighting the industrial giants who are polluting the planet and society with toxic chemcials, I see similar issues coming up in the field of humanure. My personal field is that of medication toxicity and largescale iatrogenic deaths caused by pharmaceutical products (bearing in mind that the pharmaceutical industry producing toxic medications are usually the same who manufacture toxic pesticides). Throughout the years I have observed that the individual is increasingly marginalised when confronted with the 'authoritative' opinions of the 'expert scientists' and their 'expert legal advisers', who, despite their expertise, nevertheless continue to bicker over the most fundamental points to do with pathogens, toxins, risk assessment and the like. Eventually the voice and experience of the ordinary individual, no matter how successful he or she may be in overcoming these important problems, is brushed aside as irrelevant, owing to his or her 'ignorance', and the men in white coats take over, the legislators muscle their way in, governments impose impossible restrictions and prohibitions upon the ordinary citizen while giving free reign to the industrial giants to continue with their work of polluting the planet and assuring the death of countless thousands of people every year. Just a little word about those beloved 'peer review journals' so often brought up in the posturing and lecturing of the experts, these two cartoons of mine sum up my views.
great guys
ghost written

(Message edited by emma_holister on December 15, 2008)

Author: test (Test)
Monday, September 08, 2008 - 8:36 pm
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test

Author: Tony Edwards (Chorisia)
Sunday, August 24, 2008 - 10:45 am
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I was living in Lima,Peru dureing the Cholera epidemic, it was a disease of the poor though traces of raw sewage were found in the water supply all over the city there were no middle class victims. We eating much raw fruit and vegetables were not concerned,raw garlic saw us through as it did those who buried the dead dureing the great plague of the black death in london. The answere is to live in a way that gives a healthy immune system though there are no 100% guarantees...you certainly wont get any from conventional medicine and the multinational drug companies...for sure when humanure is seen as a threat to their profits watch out!

Author: vavrek (Vavrek)
Wednesday, August 30, 2006 - 8:12 pm
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this is a test message.

Author: admin
Wednesday, January 22, 2003 - 12:39 pm
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It is mentioned in the Humanure Hanbdook, 2nd ed. (page 160) that pathogens do not enter the roots of plants, existing only on the surface of crops. As it turns out, very recent research has shown the E. coli 0157:H7 can and does enter the vasculature of plants through the roots, especially lettuce, where it can persist for quite some time. Thus, no amount of washing can remove this problem. This however, only points more vigorously to the importance of composting manure prior to its application to fields.
http://aem.asm.org/cgi/content/abstract/68/1/397

Author: saths
Thursday, January 23, 2003 - 10:32 am
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What about a 1 year wait after application to fields before planting crops. Would it be safe then?

Author: Joyce Rook
Friday, September 05, 2003 - 5:05 pm
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I am planning to build a graywater system which is designed to discharge graywater into a gravel bed underneath a raised bed vegetable garden. Is there any possible problem with pathogen uptake in the roots of the vegetable plants causing possible illness?

Author: Rangdrol
Wednesday, March 08, 2006 - 2:47 pm
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Admin - is that you Joe? - do you know where the actual study resides? I could not find it.


I have some pretty bacic doubts.
I see lots of people cite it but none of the real science.

We emailed the cited author to see if the study can be examined.

I am not putting down the study, Rutgers University does some good quality science.

We have been using human sewage on fields for years and humanure on veggies even longer. Why havent we had a zillion outbreaks?

If the organism is actually in the root fibers AND moving to the leaf internally why hasent anyone spotted it in the leaf before?


This needs to be clear, it will be used against humanure.

Author: Rangdrol
Wednesday, March 08, 2006 - 3:03 pm
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Joyce Rook if you find any real science or useful info would you please post a link?

We have only seen a few actual working systems with our own eyes.
We have been trying to read everything we could find, there just hasnt been a bunch of real useful info.

It is always "Possible" but the question is how probable is it? A whole lot of folks are ahead of you with how many reports of illness?

We decided not to risk it because we use so little water anyway.
We our seperating our shower and bathroom sink from our kitchen sink and bath - thats bath sink and shower to a "Black" drain kitchen sink and bath to a "grey" drain. The black will feed a tree seedling bed the grey will be run thru a bed similar to yours and then to a tank for the seedlings.

Author: Rangdrol
Thursday, March 09, 2006 - 5:30 pm
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We recieved a copy of the report from one of the cited authors.

It will indeed be used against Humanure[z].

There are problems and weak points with the study methodology at first reading. We have written the author to ask if we may ask them questions [as teachers not composters] about the method and findings.

We have the report in PDF format only -sorry- but we would be glad to copy it to you.

We do not have the equipment to replicate this in any case.

Author: John Heckham
Monday, March 13, 2006 - 7:48 pm
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From a medical standpoint, yes, bacterial pathogens can infiltrate a plant via the roots. However, as pathogenic bacteria, like humans, do not self-regulate their numbers, the plant would be obviously ravaged. If you, perhaps, reside on the wrong side of the IQ bell curve and were to eat the fruit/vegetable of such an obvious sickly plant, well then, let's just say thoughts of Darwin and gene pool chlorine come to mind.

All humor aside, it would be impossible for the bacteria to take the soil-root-stem-fruit path. Pathogenic bacteria, unlike symbiotic bacteria, ravage their food substrate until they take out their host. If they succeed in coming into contact with a new host, they start anew; if not, they die with their host. Helpful bacteria have evolved to not kill their host (you scratch my back, I scratch yours!)

Viruses are slightly different in that they are neither alive nor dead, but simply there, waiting patiently for a suitable host to come into contact with. The key term is suitable host. And as they don't have eyes, they use receptors which are very specific for the host organism. Mutations can cause a virus to recognize a different host species (ie avian flu), but the commonality is being mammalian. Plants and animals are simply different. I hope this microbiology-made-simple primer clarifies that.

That said, if the actual fruit were to fall down and land on contaminated soil, the chance is REAL.

Author: Rangdrol
Monday, March 13, 2006 - 9:34 pm
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Mr Heckham it happens that last week I had the fortune to hear a microbiologist who studies typhus. The work he and others have done demonstrates that pathogenic bacteria do indeed self regulate. With frightening implications.
There is a nice explination of how they are using that fact to combat the pathogens on a video put out by WGBH called "Evolution".

In fairness to the team that did the work I have to say that unless the images and results are fabricated it seems the E.Coli did infact make their way into the flesh of the plant.

We should be clear. It is not the E.Coli that causes the human illness. It is the virus that lives inside some E.Coli [0157:H7] that is particularly nasty in the way it causes the illness in humans.

We still have not heard back from the author, we will reserve our comments on the way the study was done for now to give them a chance.

We would be very interested in why you think it would be impossible.

J.R.

Author: John Heckham
Monday, March 13, 2006 - 11:32 pm
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Mr. Rangdrol,

If you would please let me know the names of the principal investigators of this study, I would greatly appreciate it as I am interested in reading their experiment.

It is true that bacteriophage virus T4 readily infects the Escherichia coli (E Coli) bacteria, but it does so at the expense of its bacterial host.

More virulent bacteria (and by virulent, I don't mean virally infected, but simply pathogenic) are evolutionarily immature as compared to bacteria that have learned to play nice. It is kind of similar to how we as humans are similarly relatively immature in an evolutionary sense and we go about destroying our planet. In fact, there are some that view humans as pathogenic organisms of the planet earth. Unless we learn to play nice, we will suffer the same fate as pathogenic bacteria!

By definition, virtually all pathogenic organisms are pathogenic because they don't play nice (self-regulate). If they did, would they be so bad? We are coated with billions and billions of bacteria and fungi that play nice on us and with eachother, but some bacteria, and many fungi, forget the rules and cause topical infections. Would you agree that these are dealt with? Of course, a breach in the integrity of the skin can introduce nice bacteria into a virtual hedonism.

Conversely, our insides (GI system) are coated with billions and billions of bacteria and fungi that rarely bother us except for occasional bouts of flatulence! Although, in fairness, some could argue that our insides are really on our outsides. And many times a day, our immune system clears errant bacteria from our bloodstream.

I have no doubt that plants are coated with their normal bacterial flora. However, to say that the flesh is contaminated with pathogenic bacteria is to say that, what, the pathogenic bacteria have recently acquired morals and are just present? They have not decided to do what pathogenic bacteria do? Namely, cause pathology? Of course they could get in the flesh, but once again, I say to you, do you honestly think that a reasonably prudent person would not be able to tell the fruit is bad?!?!

Please get back to me with the authors name. Is it in a reputable, peer-reviewed refereed journal?

Author: Rangdrol
Tuesday, March 14, 2006 - 1:28 pm
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Mr. Heckham.
The recording was on loan to me. You will have to wait for me to get it again if you want me to aquire the names of the researchers and do the digging for you. I will send a request this morning. It will take a few weeks.

It would be much faster and require less effort if you get a copy of the WGBH program "Evolution", from your local library. The segment title is "The evolutionary arms race" , WGBH# WG35509. The researchers in that segment are named and their projects are explained very well. They will connect you with the names of other researchers if you wish to put in the effort.


As to your questions.
I do not share your assumptions nor have I seen any evidence to support them. I am not sure these are actual questions by design.

I have no reason to think that E.Coli would have any visible effect on plant flesh.

Again it is a virus in some E.Coli that is responsible for the toxic effect in humans.

J.R.

Author: John Heckham
Tuesday, March 14, 2006 - 7:34 pm
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Mr. Rangdrol,

Once again, I say to you that if pathogenic E. Coli were present in the fruit, you would know it. It does not lurk idly by, sir, waiting for a dumb human to eat it. However, I think we are getting way too complicated for the group here. I do not know what else to tell you sir.

Author: Rangdrol
Thursday, March 16, 2006 - 6:01 pm
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Mr Heckham.
There is no evidence that the presence of E.Coli creates any visual difference in anything.

If you have some evidence we would all benefit from it.

The importance of the study is that an E.Coli known to carry a toxin causing virus is able to "Lurk" in the flesh of a plant.

Again I invite you to read the study. Write and challenge their work if you can. If you have evidence to refute the claims we all need it quickly. The study is being cited.


J.R.

Author: Rangdrol
Thursday, March 23, 2006 - 12:18 am
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Mr Heckham.
The Doctor you inquired about is Dr. Paul W. Ewald, Chair at the Department of Biology, Amherst College.
His particular work in evolutionary biology you were interested in, the self regulation of toxigenetic impact on hosts by pathogens, was first documented in regards to his work on the 1991 cholera epidemic in Puru. I am sure by now there is a much larger body of work.
I am informed by a student that he has a good book and did work with E.Coli in fact but I have not read any of it myself.

Good hunting!

J.R.

Author: Rangdrol
Thursday, March 23, 2006 - 1:07 am
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We still dont have a reply from the author of the study. The prevailing opinion is we won't.
The cited author is Karl R. Matthews, Ph.D.
This guy is intimidating. He is like the poster guy for what it is supposed to be.
The thing is the part he did looks really solid.
This is like a dream come true for the agra-chem-corps but we dont have the chops and he wont respond.

It just dosent make sense. Why havent there been a zillion infections? The Gmen are saying the strain is now in virtualy every feed lot in the country.

J.R.

Author: Cara Lin Bridgman
Thursday, March 23, 2006 - 6:19 am
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Growing up in cultures that traditionally use nightsoil (i.e. fresh human poo & pee) to fertilize crops, I learned very quickly not to eat anything unless I peeled it or it was served hot. There are good reasons why much of the world does not eat salads. In Asia, salad stuff is stir-fried at very hot temperatures. Greywater, i.e. from showers and laundry, would contain e. coli and could have the same results on crops as nightsoil use. The water for many crops continues to come straight from open sewers. I assume the whole point of composting is to remove pathogins, making food safe to eat fresh. In the US, at least, we also assume the water is clean.

Author: Cara Lin Bridgman
Thursday, March 23, 2006 - 6:24 am
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My point, in the previous post, is that there haven't been a zillion infections because we cook our food and purify our drinking water. In the third world, there are infections, indicated by the persistence of high childhood mortality rates, etc.

Author: Rangdrol
Thursday, March 23, 2006 - 10:17 am
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Hi Cara Lin Bridgman.
I was unaware that this E.Coli virus was killing people in the third world. Can you tell me where you found that information please?

The position the study starts from is that the U.S. practice of chlorine use does not work against this strain of viri hosting E.Coli.
Lettuce and tomatos are eaten uncooked after being treated with a chlorine wash of 100-200ppm and the study claims the wash does not kill the E.Coli, and thus the viri it hosts.
The idea behind the study is that Dr. Mathews thinks the reason chlorine is not able to kill the E.Coli is because it is hiding in the plant tissues.
The outbreaks we have seen have been mosty urban [in the U.S.] so clean water and cooking practice would not seem to present much of a barrier.
Lettuce and tomato are not cooked and E. Coli spreads in humans via contact with infected persons so only one person needs to have contact with the original plant to infect many so it seems logical there should be an increase in outbreaks as the viri spreads in the "wild" as is claimed.

Author: Cara Lin Bridgman
Friday, March 24, 2006 - 6:30 am
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Apologies for breaking into the conversation without reading any of the supporting literature. I don't know about e. coli killing people in the third world. There are so many fecal-oral diseases and so many points of contamination. What I do know is that washing the food isn't always enough -- it has to be cooked. This would imply contamination in the plant tissue. This could also reflect on the cleanliness of the water used to wash the food (my mother used to scald everything used to process or eat food). In contrast, I know of hepatitis A outbreaks from US fast food. In other discussions at the humanure site there is mention of USA factory farms spraying fresh manure on shortly to be harvested crops. At the very least, I would expect to carefully wash (if not cook) salad stuff harvested from unknown sources. Even then, the handling afterwards may not be so careful. Whether e. coli (and other vectors) hides in plant tissues or not, we both know that it only needs one person with dirty hands to cause an outbreak. What measures did Dr. Mathews take to prevent post-wash contamination and to evaluate the effectiveness of a cholorine wash? If this study is published, the methods ought to be clearly outlined. I find all three possibilities plausible: that the virus hides out in the plant tissues, that the chlorine wash doesn't kill all the e. coli, and that there is post-wash contaminiation. For the purpose of this discussion thread, however, the underlying concern is whether use of grey water or properly processed humanure will contaminate the food. Even though Joe Jenkins has not tested his pile directly (and that would also require innoculating the pile with virus-loaded e. coli one year before testing), his indirect evidence for humanure is compelling: no infections in him or his family or his guests and no contamination of his surface drinking water (at least not until he added free-ranging chickens to the garden). I don't see similar evidence for grey water.

Author: Rangdrol
Friday, March 24, 2006 - 3:52 pm
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No! Please break in! We are about to abandon this. There is not much we can do until we get better equipment next fall.
We agree.
We wondered about the sources cited by Dr.Mathews, the workers and the post-wash.
We also have questions about the amount of E.Coli used but again what can we say? The part he did seems really solid.

We did decided to modify our greywater design a little to allow us to send out greywater to our blackwater drain. We purchased the drain tiles and fittings yesterday. If the PTB show up we can shunt the grey to the black.

We decided we need the greywater here too badly to let it go for a "might maybe". Lettuce we hope is less resistant than apple trees!
Either way both our grey and black systems beat the standard septic tank for enviromental impact.

Author: Cara Lin Bridgman
Saturday, March 25, 2006 - 12:39 am
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From my experience in the third world, apple trees should be much more resistant than lettuce. We always peeled the apples, though. This probably had more to do with pesticides and contamination after picking (during transport) than any fertilization of the trees with nightsoil or grey water. I'd expect lettuce to be much less resistant than apples -- look at growth rates and life-histories. On other pages in this humanure site and on other greywater websites, there are many references to using grey water for bananas and papayas. There are no notes of contamination. Those fruits are, of course, eaten fresh.

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