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Web Date: October 10, 2011

Fertilizer May Help Bacteria Slip Into Groundwater

Water Safety: High phosphate levels allow deadly microbes to pass through soil
Department: Science & Technology
News Channels: Environmental SCENE
Keywords: E. coli 0157:H7, groundwater contamination, phosphate fertilizers

For people who drink untreated well water, sometimes the only thing that stands between them and pathogenic bacteria is soil. New research shows that high concentrations of phosphate, a key ingredient in fertilizer, help a deadly strain of Escherichia coli to slip through the dirt (Environ. Sci. Technol., DOI: 10.1021/es201132s). The result is a potentially greater risk of groundwater contamination.

On rural fields, cow manure is a major source of E. coli 0157:H7, a . . .

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