Composted Sewage Sludge Influences the Microbiome and Persistence of Human Pathogens in Soil
Composted sewage sludge (CSS) gained attention as a potential fertilizer in agriculture. Application of CSS increases soil microbial activity and microbial biomass, however, it can also lead to increased chemical and microbiological risks. In this study, we performed microcosm experiments to assess how CSS reshapes the microbial community of diluvial sand (DS) soil. Further, we assessed the potential of CSS to increase the persistence of human pathogens in DS soil and the colonization of Chinese cabbage (Brassica rapa L. subsp. pekinensis (Lour.) Hanelt). The results revealed that CSS substantially altered the prokaryotic community composition. Moreover, addition of CSS increased the persistence of Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium strain 14028s and S. enterica serovar Senftenberg in DS soil. However, the enhanced persistence in soil had no impact on the colonization rate of B. rapa grown on soil inoculated with Salmonella. We detected Salmonella in leaves of 1.9% to 3.6% of plants. Addition of CSS had no impact on the plant colonization rate. The use of sewage sludge composts is an interesting option. However, safety measures should be applied in order to avoid contamination of crop plants by human pathogens.