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Water for Agriculture: the Convergence of Sustainability and Safety

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  • Authors: Sarah M. Markland1, David Ingram2, Kalmia E. Kniel3, Manan Sharma4
  • Editors: Kalmia E. Kniel5, Siddhartha Thakur6
  • VIEW AFFILIATIONS HIDE AFFILIATIONS
    Affiliations: 1: Department of Animal and Food Sciences, University of Delaware, Newark, DE 19716; 2: Food and Drug Administration, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, College Park, MD 20740; 3: Department of Animal and Food Sciences, University of Delaware, Newark, DE 19716; 4: Environmental Microbial Food Safety Laboratory, USDA-Agricultural Research Service, Beltsville, MD 20705; 5: Department of Animal and Food Science, University of Delaware, Newark, DE; 6: North Carolina State University, College of Veterinary Medicine, Raleigh, NC
  • Source: microbiolspec May 2017 vol. 5 no. 3 doi:10.1128/microbiolspec.PFS-0014-2016
  • Received 29 November 2016 Accepted 29 March 2017 Published 19 May 2017
  • Manan Sharma, Manan.Sharma@ARS.USDA.GOV
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  • Abstract:

    Agricultural water is a precious and limited resource. Increasingly more water types and sources are being explored for use in irrigation within the United States and across the globe. As outlined in this chapter, the Produce Safety Rule (PSR) in the Food Safety and Modernization Act (FSMA) provide irrigation water standards for application of water to fruits and vegetables consumed raw. These rules for production and use of water will continue to develop and be required as the world experiences aspects of a changing climate including flooding as well as drought conditions. Research continues to assess the use of agricultural water types. The increased use of reclaimed water in the United States as well as for selected irrigation water needs for specific crops may provide increased water availability. The use of surface water can be used in irrigation as well, but several studies have shown the presence of some enteric bacterial pathogens (enterohemorrhagic , spp. and ) in these waters that may contaminate fruits and vegetables. There have been outbreaks of foodborne illness in the U.S., South America, Europe, and Australia related to the use of contaminated water in fruit and vegetable irrigation or washing. Unreliable water supplies, more stringent microbial water standards, mitigation technologies and expanded uses of reclaimed waters have all increased interest in agricultural water.

  • Citation: Markland S, Ingram D, Kniel K, Sharma M. 2017. Water for Agriculture: the Convergence of Sustainability and Safety. Microbiol Spectrum 5(3):PFS-0014-2016. doi:10.1128/microbiolspec.PFS-0014-2016.

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2017-05-19
2017-11-21

Abstract:

Agricultural water is a precious and limited resource. Increasingly more water types and sources are being explored for use in irrigation within the United States and across the globe. As outlined in this chapter, the Produce Safety Rule (PSR) in the Food Safety and Modernization Act (FSMA) provide irrigation water standards for application of water to fruits and vegetables consumed raw. These rules for production and use of water will continue to develop and be required as the world experiences aspects of a changing climate including flooding as well as drought conditions. Research continues to assess the use of agricultural water types. The increased use of reclaimed water in the United States as well as for selected irrigation water needs for specific crops may provide increased water availability. The use of surface water can be used in irrigation as well, but several studies have shown the presence of some enteric bacterial pathogens (enterohemorrhagic , spp. and ) in these waters that may contaminate fruits and vegetables. There have been outbreaks of foodborne illness in the U.S., South America, Europe, and Australia related to the use of contaminated water in fruit and vegetable irrigation or washing. Unreliable water supplies, more stringent microbial water standards, mitigation technologies and expanded uses of reclaimed waters have all increased interest in agricultural water.

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Figures

Image of FIGURE 1
FIGURE 1

Estimated municipal effluent generated per day in the United States (billions of gallons/day). Adapted from the U.S. EPA 2012 Guidelines for Water Reuse ( 61 ).

Source: microbiolspec May 2017 vol. 5 no. 3 doi:10.1128/microbiolspec.PFS-0014-2016
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Image of FIGURE 2
FIGURE 2

Reuse summaries of reclaimed water use in the United States. Adapted from the U.S. EPA 2012 Guidelines for Water Reuse ( 61 ).

Source: microbiolspec May 2017 vol. 5 no. 3 doi:10.1128/microbiolspec.PFS-0014-2016
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Image of FIGURE 3
FIGURE 3

Percentage of U.S. states with specific regulations on agricultural reuse of water. Adapted from the U.S. EPA 2012 Guidelines for Water Reuse ( 61 ).

Source: microbiolspec May 2017 vol. 5 no. 3 doi:10.1128/microbiolspec.PFS-0014-2016
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Tables

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TABLE 1

Types of water reuse and water reuse terminology

Source: microbiolspec May 2017 vol. 5 no. 3 doi:10.1128/microbiolspec.PFS-0014-2016
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TABLE 2

State-by-state microbial standards for irrigation of nonfood crops with reused water

Source: microbiolspec May 2017 vol. 5 no. 3 doi:10.1128/microbiolspec.PFS-0014-2016

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