Comparing the pathogen numbers in backyard and commercial composts
compost researchers
From left to right: Neslihan Akdeniz, Helen Nguyen, and Yuqing Mao investigated different compost samples to compare the number of pathogens and antibiotic resistance genes.

Compost—organic material that is added to soil to help plants grow—is widely used by gardeners because it improves soil health and reduces the amount of organic waste in landfills. Although several studies have looked at commercial composts, very few have investigated backyard compost samples. In a new study, researchers have measured the number of pathogens in both types of compost.

Neslihan Akdeniz, a clinical assistant professor in agricultural and biological engineering, is a co-author on the paper and lent her expertise in composting with livestock manure.

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