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Effects of Diet on Rumen Proliferation and Fecal Shedding of Escherichia coli O157:H7 in Calves

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Calves inoculated with Escherichia coli O157:H7 and fed either a high-roughage or high-concentrate diet were evaluated for rumen proliferation and fecal shedding of E. coli O157:H7. Calves fed the high-roughage diet had lower mean rumen volatile fatty acid concentrations and higher rumen pH values than did calves fed the high-concentrate diet. Despite these differences in rumen conditions, the calves fed the high-roughage diet did not have greater rumen populations of E. coli O157: H7 and did not exhibit increased or longer fecal shedding compared with the calves fed the high-concentrate diet. Two calves shedding the highest mean concentrations of E. coli O157:H7 were both fed the high-concentrate diet. There was a significant (P < 0.05) positive correlation between fecal shedding and rumen volatile fatty acid concentration in calves fed a high-concentrate diet. The effects of diet on E. coli O157:H7 proliferation and acid resistance were investigated using an in vitro rumen fermentation system. Rumen fluid collected from steers fed a high-roughage diet, but not from steers fed a high-concentrate diet, supported the proliferation of E. coli O157:H7. Rumen fluid from steers fed a high-concentrate diet rapidly induced acid resistance in E. coli O157:H7. The impact of diet on fecal shedding of E. coli O157:H7 is still unclear and may depend on dietary effects on fermentation in the colon and on diet-induced changes in the resident microflora. However, rapid development of acid tolerance by E. coli O157:H7 in the rumens of calves fed high-concentrate diets, allowing larger populations to survive passage through the acidic abomasum to proliferate in the colon, may be one factor that influences fecal shedding in cattle on feed.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Pathology, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia 30602, USA 2: Department of Large Animal Medicine and Surgery, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia 30602, USA 3: Department of Animal and Dairy Science, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia 30602, USA 4: Center for Food Safety and Quality Enhancement, Department of Food Science and Technology, Georgia Station, University of Georgia, Griffin, Georgia 30223, USA

Publication date: December 1, 2000

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    The Journal of Food Protection (JFP) is a refereed monthly publication. Each issue contains scientific research and authoritative review articles reporting on a variety of topics in food science pertaining to food safety and quality. The Journal is internationally recognized as the leading publication in the field of food microbiology with a readership exceeding 11,000 scientists from 70 countries. The Journal of Food Protection is indexed in Index Medicus, Current Contents, BIOSIS, PubMed, Medline, and many others.

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