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Inactivation of Escherichia coli O157:H7 in Cattle Drinking Water by Sodium Caprylate

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Escherichia coli O157:H7 is an important foodborne pathogen. Cattle serve as one of the major reservoirs of E. coli O157:H7, excreting the pathogen in feces. Environmental persistence of E. coli O157:H7 is critical in its epidemiology on farms, and the pathogen has been isolated from cattle water troughs. Thus, there is a need for an effective method for killing E. coli O157:H7 in cattle drinking water. In this study, the efficacy of sodium caprylate for killing E. coli O157:H7 in cattle drinking water was investigated. A four-strain mixture of E. coli O157:H7 was inoculated (6.0 log CFU/ml) into 100-ml samples of well water containing 0, 75, 100, or 120 mM sodium caprylate. Water samples containing 1% (wt/vol) bovine feces or feed also were included. The samples were incubated at 21 or 8°C for 21 days. Water samples were analyzed for viable E. coli O157:H7 on days 0, 1, 3, 5, and 7 and weekly thereafter. Triplicate samples of each treatment and control were included, and the study was repeated twice. The magnitude of E. coli O157:H7 inactivation in water significantly increased (P < 0.01) with increases in caprylate concentration and storage temperature. At 120 mM, sodium caprylate completely inactivated E. coli O157:H7 in all the samples after 1 to 20 days, depending on the treatments. The presence of feces or feed also had a significant effect (P < 0.01) on the antibacterial property of caprylate; the presence of feces decreased the antibacterial effect, whereas addition of feed enhanced the effect. These results indicate that sodium caprylate is effective in killing E. coli O157:H7 in cattle drinking water, but detailed cattle palatability studies of water containing caprylate are necessary.

Document Type: Research Article

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

Publication date: September 1, 2006

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