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J Anim Sci. 2011 Sep;89(9):2829-35. doi: 10.2527/jas.2010-3793. Epub 2011 Apr 21.

Dietary monensin level, supplemental urea, and ractopamine on fecal shedding of Escherichia coli O157:H7 in feedlot cattle.

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  • 1Department of Diagnostic Medicine and Pathobiology, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS 66506, USA.

Abstract

Inclusion of distillers grains (DG) in cattle diets has been shown to increase fecal shedding of Escherichia coli O157:H7. It is hypothesized that altered gut fermentation by DG may be responsible for the positive association. Therefore, feed additives affecting ruminal or hindgut fermentation of DG also may affect fecal shedding of E. coli O157:H7. The objectives of the study were to evaluate effects of monensin (33 or 44 mg/kg of DM), supplemental urea (0, 0.35, or 0.70% of DM), and ractopamine (0 or 200 mg/steer daily administered during the last 42 d of finishing) in a steam-flaked corn grain-based diet containing 30% wet sorghum DG on fecal shedding of E. coli O157:H7. Seven hundred twenty crossbred beef steers, housed in 48 pens (15 steers/pen), were assigned to dietary treatments in a randomized complete block design with a 2 × 3 × 2 factorial treatment arrangement. Fresh pen floor fecal samples (10 per/pen) were collected every 2 wk for 14 wk (July through November) and cultured for E. coli O157:H7. Isolation of E. coli O157:H7 was by selective enrichment of fecal samples in an enrichment broth, immunomagnetic separation, followed by plating onto a selective medium. Samples that yielded sorbitol-negative colonies, which were positive for indole production, O157 antigen agglutination, and contained rfbE, fliC, and stx2 were considered positive for E. coli O157:H7. Fecal prevalence data were analyzed as repeated measures using negative binomial regression to examine effects and interactions of sampling day, urea, monensin, and ractopamine. Mean fecal prevalence of E. coli O157:H7 was 7.6% and ranged from 1.6 to 23.6%. Cattle fed monensin at 44 mg/kg of feed had less (P = 0.05) fecal E. coli O157:H7 prevalence than cattle fed 33 mg/kg (4.3 vs. 6.8%). Although the reason for the reduction is not known, it is likely because of changes in the microbial ecosystem induced by the greater amount of monensin in the hindgut. Supplemental urea at 0.35 or 0.70% had no effect (P = 0.87) on fecal shedding of E. coli O157:H7. Fecal prevalence of E. coli O157:H7 were 5.3, 5.7, and 5.9% for groups fed 0, 0.35, and 0.7% urea, respectively. The inclusion of ractopamine at 0 or 200 mg/(animal•d) had no effect (P = 0.89) on fecal prevalence of E. coli O157:H7 (4.4 vs. 4.0%). Additional research is needed to confirm the reduction in fecal shedding of E. coli O157:H7 in cattle fed monensin at 44 mg/kg of feed compared with cattle fed 33 mg/kg of feed.

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