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Soil versus Pond Ash Surfacing of Feedlot Pens: Occurrence of Escherichia coli O157:H7 in Cattle and Persistence in Manure

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Reducing Escherichia coli O157:H7 in cattle and their manure is critical for reducing the risk for human foodborne and waterborne illness. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effects of soil and pond ash surfaces for feedlot pens on the prevalence, levels, and/or persistence of naturally occurring E. coli O157:H7 and total E. coli in cattle (feces and hides) and manure. Cattle (128 beef heifers) were sorted among 16 pens: 8 surfaced with soil and 8 surfaced with pond ash. The prevalence of E. coli O157:H7 in feces decreased (P < 0.0001) during the study from 57.0% on day 0 to 3.9% on day 84 but did not differ (P ≥ 0.05) between cattle on soil and on pond ash pens at any sampling period. The prevalence of the pathogen on hides and in feedlot surface material (FSM) also decreased (P < 0.0001), with no effect of soil or pond ash surface (P ≥ 0.05). Similarly, levels of E. coli in FSM did not differ (P ≥ 0.05) at any sampling period, and there were no clear trends for survival differences of E. coli O157:H7 or E. coli in FSM between pond ash and soil surfaces, although E. coli populations survived at 5.0 log CFU/g of FSM on the pen surfaces 6 weeks after the cattle were removed. These results indicate that housing cattle on pens surfaced with pond ash versus pens surfaced with soil does not affect E. coli O157:H7 in cattle or their manure.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Roman L. Hruska U.S. Meat Animal Research Center, P.O. Box 166, Spur 18D, Clay Center, Nebraska 68933-0166, USA. 2: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Roman L. Hruska U.S. Meat Animal Research Center, P.O. Box 166, Spur 18D, Clay Center, Nebraska 68933-0166, USA

Publication date: July 1, 2010

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