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Prevalence and Level of Escherichia coli O157:H7 in Feces and on Hides of Feedlot Steers Fed Diets with or without Wet Distillers Grains with Solubles

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The objective of this study was to determine if wet distillers grains with solubles (WDGS) from corn in diets affected Escherichia coli O157:H7 in growing and finishing cattle; steers (n = 603) were randomly assigned to diets with or without WDGS. Hide and fecal samples were collected monthly (October through June) from each animal for enumeration and enrichment of E. coli O157:H7. In the growing phase (0 or 13.9% WDGS diets), fecal prevalence for E. coli O157:H7 in steers fed a diet with WDGS was twice that of the prevalence in control steers (P < 0.001). In the finishing phase (0 or 40% WDGS diets), the average prevalence in feces (P < 0.001) and on hides (P < 0.001) was higher for cattle fed WDGS. The average percentage of fecal E. coli O157:H7 enumerable samples during the finishing phase for cattle fed WDGS was 2.7% compared with 0.1% for control steers (P < 0.001). The average percentage of E. coli O157:H7 enumerable hide samples was not different between diets, but the cattle fed WDGS had higher levels (P < 0.05) of the pathogen. Animals fed WDGS had higher levels of E. coli (P < 0.001), higher pH values (P < 0.001), and lower concentrations of L-lactate (P < 0.001) in feces than those values of the control steers. These results indicate that feeding 40% WDGS could increase the level and prevalence of E. coli O157:H7 in and on feedlot cattle when E. coli O157:H7 is seasonally low.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Station, U.S. Meat Animal Research Center, Clay Center, Nebraska 68933-0166, USA 2: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Station, U.S. Meat Animal Research Center, Clay Center, Nebraska 68933-0166, USA; IEH Laboratories and Consulting Group, Lake Forest Park, WA 98155, USA

Publication date: August 1, 2009

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