A probabilistic QMRA of Salmonella in direct agricultural reuse of treated municipal wastewater

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Developing reliable quantitative microbial risk assessment (QMRA) procedures aids in setting recommendations on reuse applications of treated wastewater. In this study, a probabilistic QMRA to determine the risk of Salmonella infections resulting from the consumption of edible crops irrigated with treated wastewater was conducted. Quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) was used to enumerate Salmonella spp. in post-disinfected samples, where they showed concentrations ranging from 90 to 1,600 cells/100 mL. The results were used to construct probabilistic exposure models for the raw consumption of three vegetables (lettuce, cabbage, and cucumber) irrigated with treated wastewater, and to estimate the disease burden using Monte Carlo analysis. The results showed elevated median disease burden, when compared with acceptable disease burden set by the World Health Organization, which is 10−6 disability-adjusted life years per person per year. Of the three vegetables considered, lettuce showed the highest risk of infection in all scenarios considered, while cucumber showed the lowest risk. The results of the Salmonella concentration obtained with qPCR were compared with the results of Escherichia coli concentration for samples taken on the same sampling dates.

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