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Microbial water quality of agricultural water systems in Mississippi and Alabama: The risks to fresh produce
Proceedings of the 2023 Mississippi Water Resources Conference

Year: 2023 Authors: Bond R.F., Silva J.L., Abdallah-Ruiz A., Atwill E.R.

Irrigation is an important practice for agriculture in Mississippi and Alabama, but the use of contaminated water can lead to the spread of harmful microorganisms. This study was conducted through the 2018-2019 produce season to evaluate the microbial water quality of irrigation water in both states by analyzing samples from different agricultural water systems. We measured the levels of indicator microorganisms such as enterococcus, fecal coliforms, and Escherichia coli (E. coli) as well as pathogens such as Salmonella, Shiga-toxin producing E. coli and E. coli O157:H7. With this understanding we will provide insight into the potential health risks associated with the use of irrigation water in Mississippi and Alabama and will inform recommendations for improving water quality in these systems. Additionally, we investigated identifying these sources of contamination and worked to develop strategies to reduce the spread of harmful microorganisms in irrigation water.

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