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Prevalence of Escherichia coli O157:H7 and Performance by Beef Feedlot Cattle Given Lactobacillus Direct-Fed Microbials

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Fecal shedding of Escherichia coli O157:H7, the prevalence of Escherichia coli O157:H7 in pens and on carcasses and hides, and cattle performance as a result of daily dietary supplementation with Lactobacillus-based direct-fed microbials (DFMs) were evaluated in a feeding trial involving 180 beef steers. Steers were evaluated for shedding of E. coli O157:H7 by an immunomagnetic separation technique on arrival at the feedlot, just before treatment with the DFMs, and every 14 days thereafter until slaughter. Composite pen fecal samples were collected every 14 days (alternating weeks with animal testing), and prevalence on hides and carcasses at slaughter was also evaluated. Feedlot performance (body weight gain and feed intake) was measured for the period during which the DFMs were fed. Gain efficiency was calculated as the ratio of weight gain to feed intake. Lactobacillus acidophilus NPC 747 decreased (P < 0.01) the shedding of E. coli O157:H7 in the feces of individual cattle during the feeding period. E. coli O157:H7 was approximately twice as likely to be detected in control animal samples as in samples from animals receiving L. acidophilus NPC 747. In addition, DFM supplementation decreased (P < 0.05) the number of E. coli O157:H7-positive hide samples at harvest and the number of pens testing positive for the pathogen. Body weight gains (on a live or carcass basis) and feed intakes during the DFM supplementation period did not differ among treatments. Gain efficiencies on a live-weight basis did not differ among treatments, but carcass-based gain/feed ratios tended (P < 0.06) to be better for animals receiving the two DFM treatments than for control animals. The results of this study suggest that the feeding of a Lactobacillus-based DFM to cattle will decrease, but not eliminate, fecal shedding of E. coli O157:H7, as well as contamination on hides, without detrimental effects on performance.


Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Animal and Food Sciences, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas 79409 2: Division of Agriculture, West Texas A&M University, Canyon, Texas 79016, USA

Publication date: May 1, 2003

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