Low-frequency electromagnetic fields as an alternative to sanitize water of drinking systems in poultry production?
Low-frequency electromagnetic fields (LF-EMF) may present an alternative to conventional sanitation methods of water supply lines in animal production. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of the application of LF-EMF on bacterial concentrations and biofilms at scale-models of different drinking systems (circulating and non-circulating) conventionally used in poultry holdings. Treated systems were equipped with commercial devices producing pulsed electromagnetic signals of low frequency up to 10,000 Hz; max. 21 mT. Exposure of water to LF-EMF resulted in changes of the culturable bacterial counts, although with high standard deviations. Differing between systems types, LF-EMF treatment seemed to be responsible either for a limitation or for an increase of colony forming unit counts, with partly statistically significant differences, especially in early stages of treatment. In contrast, neither biofilm formation nor counts of cells suspended in water differed between treated and control lines over 28 days of experiment, as determined by fluorescence microscopy. Although this study indicates that LF-EMF may influence culturability of water microorganisms, no clear inhibitory effects on bacterial biofilm formation or on planktonic microbes by LF-EMF treatment were confirmed in the experiments.
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