Ascariasis effects approximately one quarter of the world’s population and is particularly prevalent in developing countries. As improvements in sanitation in most of these countries becomes more widespread, composting of human excreta and sewage sludge has become a popular and cost effective method for the disposal of these products, as well as offering a valuable source of organic fertiliser. If, however, the composting process is not properly controlled there may be a potential risk from pathogen and helminth infection to workers handling the compost and consumers of foodstuffs grown on land treated by the compost.The work carried out has examined the effect of compost on the development and the viability of ascarid embryos within their protective eggshell, in an attempt to establish any mechanisms which may be involved in the destruction of these eggs. Ascaridia galli eggs were used as a model for Ascaris lumbricoides eggs. These were suspended for a period of two to three weeks in compost and microorganism free compost extract, as well as in distilled water controls. In the first set of experiments, approximately four week old municipal waste compost was used, while in the following set of experiments approximately one week old compost was used. The results showed that both the one week old and the four week old compost extract retarded the development of the Ascaridia galli eggs suspended in them. This effect was seen to be more pronounced in the one week old compost extracts. No such delay in the development of the A. galli eggs was observed in the micro-organism free compost media. In spite of the observed delay in the development of the A. galli eggs suspended in the compost media, the viability of the eggs was unaffected. The observed delay in development was thought to have resulted from some form of microbial and/or fungal activity which would be present within the compost suspensions but not the micro-organisms free environments.
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- The Effect of Municipal Waste Compost on the Development and Viability of Ascarid Eggs
H. J. Meekings
E. I. Stentiford
D. L. Lee
- Springer Netherlands