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In Vitro Inactivation of Escherichia coli O157:H7 in Bovine Rumen Fluid by Caprylic Acid

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The antibacterial effect of caprylic acid (35 and 50 mM) on Escherichia coli O157:H7 and total anaerobic bacteria at 39°C in rumen fluid (pH 5.6 and 6.8) from 12 beef cattle was investigated. The treatments containing caprylic acid at both pHs significantly reduced (P < 0.05) the population of E. coli O157:H7 compared with that in the control samples. At pH 5.6, both levels of caprylic acid killed E. coli O157:H7 rapidly, reducing the pathogen population to undetectable levels at 1 min of incubation (a more than 6.0-log CFU/ml reduction). In buffered rumen fluid at pH 6.8, 50 mM caprylic acid reduced the E. coli O157:H7 population to undetectable levels at 1 min of incubation, whereas 35 mM caprylic acid reduced the pathogen by approximately 3.0 and 5.0 log CFU/ml at 8 and 24 h of incubation, respectively. At both pHs, caprylic acid had a significantly lesser (P < 0.05) and minimal inhibitory effect on the population of total anaerobic bacteria in rumen compared with that on E. coli O157:H7. At 24 h of incubation, caprylic acid (35 and 50 mM) reduced the population of total anaerobic bacteria by approximately 2.0 log CFU/ml at pH 5.6, whereas at pH 6.8, caprylic acid (35 mM) did not have any significant (P > 0.05) inhibitory effect on total bacterial load. Results of this study revealed that caprylic acid was effective in inactivating E. coli O157:H7 in bovine rumen fluid, thereby justifying its potential as a preslaughter dietary supplement for reducing pathogen carriage in cattle.


Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Animal Science, Unit 4040, University of Connecticut, Storrs, Connecticut 06269, USA

Publication date: May 1, 2004

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