Effects of Soil Type and Cover Condition on Cryptosporidium parvum Transport in Overland Flow

  • Paul C. Davidson
  • Theresa B. Kuhlenschmidt
  • Rabin Bhattarai
  • Prasanta K. Kalita
  • Mark S. Kuhlenschmidt


Overland transport kinetics of pathogens is controlled, in large part, by soil and vegetation. With an increasing number of concentrated animal operations, there is becoming a greater need to dispose of a vast amount of manure in a single, localized area. Animal manure contains a substantial amount of microbial pathogens, including Cryptosporidium parvum that may pose a threat of contamination of water resources. This study examines the kinetics of C. parvum in overland transport and critical factors involved in the design of best management practices, especially vegetative filter strips, to prevent the transport of harmful pathogens to water bodies. Three soil types were tested (Catlin silt-loam, Alvin fine sandy-loam, Darwin silty-clay), spanning the entire spectrum of typical Illinois soils. A 20-min rainfall event was produced using a small-scale (1.07 m × 0.66 m) laboratory rainfall simulator over a soil box measuring 0.67 m × 0.33 m. Each soil type was tested for pathogen transport kinetics with bare surface conditions as well as with smooth brome and fescue vegetative covers. Surface runoff, soil cores, and near-surface runoff were each analyzed for infective C. parvum oocysts using cell culture infectivity assays. Results showed that vegetation greatly reduced the recovery of infective oocysts, in addition to delaying the time to the peak recovery. However, there was no clear evidence of any one vegetation type being advantageous over another. The bare soil experiments resulted in a higher recovery of C. parvum oocysts from the Darwin soil compared to other two soils. Analyses of soil cores show a slightly higher recovery of oocysts in the Catlin soil compared to Alvin or Darwin soils.


Health Pathogen Vegetation Water quality 



This work has been funded in part by a grant (ILLV-44-6751) from the USDA NRI CSREES Water and Watersheds Program.


  1. American Public Health Association. (2001). Drinking water quality and public health. American Journal of Public Health, 91(3), 499–500.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Atwill, E. R., Hou, L., Karle, B. M., Harter, T., Tate, K. W., & Dahlgren, R. A. (2002). Transport of Cryptosporidium parvum oocysts through vegetated buffer strips and estimated filtration efficiency. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 68(11), 5517–5527.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Blanco-Canqui, H., Gantzer, C. J., Anderson, S. H., Alberts, E. E., & Thompson, A. L. (2004). Grass barrier and vegetative filter strip effectiveness in reducing runoff, sediment, nitrogen, and phosphorus loss. Soil Science Society of America Journal, 68, 1670–1678.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Craun, M. F., Craun, G. F., Calderon, R. L., & Beach, M. J. (2006). Waterborne outbreaks reported in the United States. Journal of Water and Health, 4, 19–30.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Dai, X., & Boll, J. (2003). Evaluation of attachment of Cryptosporidium parvum and Giardia lamblia to soil particles. Journal of Environmental Quality, 32, 296–304.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Davidson, P. C. (2007). Characterization of rotavirus survival in soil. Urbana: Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering, University of Illinois.Google Scholar
  7. Davies, C. M., Ferguson, C. M., Kaucner, C., Krogh, M., Altavilla, N., Deere, D. A., & Ashbolt, N. J. (2004). Dispersion and transport of Cryptosporidium oocysts from fecal pats under simulated rainfall events. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 70, 1151–1159.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Fayer, R., Speer, C. A., & Dubey, J. P. (1990). Cryptosporidiosis of man and animals. Boca Raton: CRC Press.Google Scholar
  9. Gao, X. D., Metge, D. W., Ray, C., Harvey, R., & Chorover, J. (2009). Surface complexation of carboxylate adheres Cryptosporidium parvum öocysts to the hematite-water interface. Environmental Science and Technology, 43, 7423–7429.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Graczyk, T. K., Evans, B. M., Shiff, C. J., Karreman, H. J., & Patz, J. A. (2000). Environmental and geographical factors contributing to watershed contamination with Cryptosporidium parvum oocysts. Environmental Research Section A, 82, 263–271.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Janjaroen, D., Liu, Y., Kuhlenschmidt, M. S., Kuhlenschmidt, T. B., & Nguyen, T. H. (2010). Role of divalent cations on deposition kinetics of cryptosporidium parvum oocysts onto natural organic matter surfaces. Environmental Science & Technology, 44, 4519–4524.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Juranek, D. D. (2007). Cryptosporidiosis: sources of infection and guidelines for prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dpd/parasites/cryptosporidiosis/crypto_sources_of_infect.htm. Accessed 2 April 2007.
  13. Koch, D. J. (2009). Fate and transport of Cryptosporidium parvum under small-scale rainfall simulator. Urbana: Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering, University of Illinois.Google Scholar
  14. Koch, D. J., Davidson, P. C., Kalita, P. K., Kuhlenschmidt, M. S., & Kuhelenshmidt, T. B. (2013). Fate and transport of Cryptosporidium parvum under small-scale rainfall simulator. Journal of Medical Research and Development, 2(4), 92–99.Google Scholar
  15. Koelsch, R. K., Lorimor, J. C., & Mankin, K. R. (2006). Vegetative treatment systems for management of open lot runoff: review of literature. Applied Engineering in Agriculture, 22(1), 141–153.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Kuczynska, E., & Shelton, D. R. (1999). Method for detection and enumeration of Cryptosporidium parvum oocysts in feces, manures, and soils. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 65, 2820–2826.Google Scholar
  17. Liu, Y., Zhang, C., Hilpert, M., Kuhlenschmidt, M., Kuhlenschmidt, T., & Nguyen, T. H. (2012). Transport of Cryptosporidium parvum oocyst in a silicon micromodel. Environmental Science & Technology, 46, 1471–1479.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. MacKenzie, W. R., Hoxie, N. J., Proctor, M. E., Gradus, M. S., Blair, K. A., Peterson, D. E., Kazmierczak, J. J., Addiss, D. G., Fox, K. R., Rose, J. B., & Davis, J. P. (1994). A massive outbreak in Milwaukee of Cryptosporidium infection transmitted through the public water supply. New England Journal of Medicine, 331(3), 161–167.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Mawdsley, J. L., Brooks, A. E., Merry, R. J., & Pain, B. F. (1996a). Use of a novel soil tilting table apparatus to demonstrate the horizontal and vertical movement of the protozoan pathogen Cryptosporidium parvum in soil. Biology and Fertility of Soils, 23, 215–220.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Mawdsley, J. L., Brooks, A. E., & Merry, R. J. (1996b). Movement of the protozoan pathogen Cryptosporidium parvum through three contrasting soil types. Biology and Fertility of Soils, 21, 30–36.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. McLaughlin, S. J., Kalita, P. K., & Kuhlenschmidt, M. S. (2013). Fate of Cryptosporidium parvum oocsyts within soil, water, and plant environment. Journal of Environmental Management, 131, 121–128.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Santamaría, J., Quinonez-Diaz Mde, J., Lemond, L., Arnold, R. G., Quanrud, D., Gerba, C., & Brusseau, M. L. (2011). Transport of Cryptosporidium parvum oocysts in sandy soil: impact of length scale. Journal of Environmental Monitoring, 13(12), 3481–3484.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Santamaría, J., Brusseau, M. L., Araujo, J., Orosz-Coghlan, P., Blanford, W. J., & Gerba, C. P. (2012). Transport and retention of Cryptosporidium parvum oocysts in sandy soils. Journal of Environmental Quality, 41(4), 1246–1252.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Slifko, T. R., Huffman, D. E., & Rose, J. B. (1999). A most-probable-number assay for enumeration of infectious Cryptosporidium parvum oocysts. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 65(9), 3936–3941.Google Scholar
  25. Stout, W. L., Pachepsky, Y. A., Shelton, D. R., Sadeghi, A. M., Saporito, L. S., & Sharpley, A. N. (2005). Runoff transport of faecal coliforms and phosphorus released from manure in grass buffer conditions. Letters in Applied Microbiology, 41, 230–234.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Tate, K. W., Pereira, M. C., & Atwill, E. R. (2004). Efficacy of vegetated buffer strips for retaining Cryptosporidium parvum. Journal of Environmental Quality, 33, 2243–2251.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Trask, J. R. (2002). Transport of Cryptosporidium parvum in overland and near-surface flow. Urbana: Department of Agricultural Engineering, University of Illinois.Google Scholar
  28. Trask, J. R., Kalita, P. K., Kuhlenschmidt, M. S., Smith, R. L., & Funk, T. L. (2004). Overland and near-surface transport of Cryptosporidium parvum from vegetated and nonvegetated surfaces. Journal of Environmental Quality, 33, 984–993.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. WHO. (2004). Water, sanitation and hygiene links to health. Facts and figures. Zeneva: World Health Organization.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paul C. Davidson
    • 1
  • Theresa B. Kuhlenschmidt
    • 2
  • Rabin Bhattarai
    • 1
  • Prasanta K. Kalita
    • 1
  • Mark S. Kuhlenschmidt
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Agricultural and Biological EngineeringUniversity of IllinoisUrbanaUSA
  2. 2.Department of PathobiologyUniversity of IllinoisUrbanaUSA

Personalised recommendations