Fate of Cryptosporidium parvum oocysts within soil, water, and Plant environment

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Vegetative Filter Strips (VFS) have long been used to control the movement of agricultural nutrients and prevent them from reaching receiving waters. Earlier studies have shown that VFS also dramatically reduce both the kinetics and extent of Cryptosporidium parvum (C.parvum) oocysts overland transport. In this study, we investigated possible mechanisms responsible for the ability of VFS to reduce oocyst overland transport. Measurement of the kinetics of C.parvum adhesion to individual sand, silt, and clay soil particles revealed that oocysts associate over time, albeit relatively slow, with clay but not silt or sand particles. Measurement of oocyst overland transport kinetics, soil infiltration depth, distance of travel, and adhesion to vegetation on bare and vegetated soil surfaces indicate that oocysts move more slowly, and penetrate the soil profile to a greater extent on a vegetated surface than on a bare soil surface. Furthermore, we demonstrate a small fraction of the oocysts become attached to vegetation at the soil-vegetation interface on VFS. These results suggest VFS function to reduce oocyst overland transport by primarily decreasing oocyst surface flow enough to allow penetration within the soil profile followed by subsequent adhesion to or entrapment within clay particle aggregates, and to a lesser extent, adhesion to the surface vegetation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)121-128
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Environmental Management
StatePublished - Dec 15 2013


  • Pathogen
  • Transport
  • Vegetative filter strips
  • Water quality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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