Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada Research Centre, Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada T1J 4B1.
To evaluate the potential of using electrolyzed oxidizing (EO) water for controlling Escherichia coli O157:H7 in water for livestock, the effects of water source, electrolyte concentration, dilution, storage conditions, and bacterial or fecal load on the oxidative reduction potential (ORP) and bactericidal activity of EO water were investigated. Anode and combined (7:3 anode:cathode, vol/vol) EO waters reduced the pH and increased the ORP of deionized water, whereas cathode EO water increased pH and lowered ORP. Minimum concentrations (vol/vol) of anode and combined EO waters required to kill 10(4) CFU/ml planktonic suspensions of E. coli O157:H7 strain H4420 were 0.5 and 2.0%, respectively. Cathode EO water did not inhibit H4420 at concentrations up to 16% (vol/vol). Higher concentrations of anode or combined EO water were required to elevate the ORP of irrigation or chlorinated tap water compared with that of deionized water. Addition of feces to EO water products (0.5% anode or 2.0% combined, vol/vol) significantly reduced (P < 0.001) their ORP values to < 700 mV in all water types. A relationship between ORP and bactericidal activity of EO water was observed. The dilute EO waters retained the capacity to eliminate a 10(4) CFU/ml inoculation of E. coli O157:H7 H4420 for at least 70 h regardless of exposure to UV light or storage temperature (4 versus 24 degrees C). At 95 h and beyond, UV exposure reduced ORP, significantly more so (P < 0.05) in open than in closed containers. Bactericidal activity of EO products (anode or combined) was lost in samples in which ORP value had fallen to < or = 848 mV. When stored in the dark, the diluted EO waters retained an ORP of > 848 mV and bactericidal efficacy for at least 125 h; with refrigeration (4 degrees C), these conditions were retained for at least 180 h. Results suggest that EO water may be an effective means by which to control E. coli O157:H7 in livestock water with low organic matter content.