Cattle manure harbors microbial constituents that make it a potential source of pollution in the environment and infections in humans. Knowledge of, and microbial assessment of, manure is crucial in a bid to prevent public health and environmental hazards through the development of better management practices and policies that should govern manure handling. Physical, chemical and biological methods to reduce pathogen population in manure do exist, but are faced with challenges such as cost, odor pollution, green house gas emission, etc. Consequently, anaerobic digestion of animal manure is currently one of the most widely used treatment method that can help to salvage the above-mentioned adverse effects and in addition, produces biogas that can serve as an alternative/complementary source of energy. However, this method has to be monitored closely as it could be fraught with challenges during operation, caused by the inherent characteristics of the manure. In addition, to further reduce bacterial pathogens to a significant level, anaerobic digestion can be combined with other methods such as thermal, aerobic and physical methods. In this paper, we review the bacterial composition of cattle manure as well as methods engaged in the control of pathogenic microbes present in manure and recommendations that need to be respected and implemented in order to prevent microbial contamination of the environment, animals and humans.
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