Occurrence of enteric pathogens in composted domestic solid waste containing disposable diapers

Charles P. Gerba, Mary S. Huber, Jaime Naranjo, Joan B. Rose, Susan Bradford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Information has not been previously available on the occurrence of enteric pathogenic viruses and protozoan parasites in composted municipal domestic solid waste. A potential source of these pathogens in domestic solid waste is disposal diapers. The occurrence of enteroviruses, Giardia cysts, Cryptosporidium oocysts and Salmonella were determined in municipal composted domestic solid waste, and solid waste to which extra diapers had been added to increase their concentration 2-4 fold (6.6-7.7% by weight) above that found normally in municipal solid waste before composting. The compost was tested at various periods of time during aging (101-203 days). No enteroviruses or protozoan cysts or oocysts were detected in any of the samples collected during this period. One sample out of 19 collected (after 175 days aging) was positive for Salmonella. These results suggest that enteric pathogens were destroyed during the composting process, or were present in numbers below the detection method (i.e. one organism per 40-50g of compost) used in this study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)315-324
Number of pages10
JournalWaste Management and Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1995


  • Cryptosporidium
  • Giardia
  • Salmonella
  • Solid waste
  • compost
  • diapers
  • enterovirus
  • pathogens
  • virus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Pollution


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