Survival of the ovine footrot pathogen Dichelobacter nodosus in different soils

Mohd Muzafar, Laura E. Green, Leo A. Calvo-Bado, Esther Tichauer, Hayley C. King, Philip James, E. M. H. Wellington

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
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Dichelobacter nodosus (D. nodosus) is the causative agent of footrot in sheep; one of the most important health and welfare issues of sheep worldwide. For control programmes to be effective, it is essential that the transmission cycle of D. nodosus is understood and bacterial reservoirs in the environment are better defined. This study evaluated the survival of D. nodosus in different soils using soil microcosms. Cultivation independent and dependent methods were used to detect D. nodosus over 40 days from seeding in soil. A D. nodosus specific probe was used for quantification by qPCR and viability was assessed by cell permeability to an intercalating dye, PMA, and by culture. Survival varied dramatically depending on soil type, matric potential (MP) and temperature. Our findings indicate that D. nodosus survival was higher at 5 °C compared with 25 °C in all soils and significantly longer at both temperatures in clay soil (>44% clay) compared with other soil types. Survival under all conditions was longer than 30 days for both culture independent and dependent methods, this is substantially longer than previous studies and, if this is an infectious dose, longer than the current recommendation of resting a field for 14 days to prevent onward infection.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)81-87
Number of pages7
Early online date30 Dec 2015
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2016


  • Dichelobacter nodosus
  • Footrot
  • Ovine foot disease
  • Pathogen survival
  • Disease reservoirs


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