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J Food Prot. 2000 Dec;63(12):1630-6.

Effects of diet on rumen proliferation and fecal shedding of Escherichia coil O157:H7 in calves.

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Department of Pathology, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Georgia, Athens 30602, USA.


Calves inoculated with Escherichia coli O157:H7 and fed either a high-roughage or high-concentrate diet were evaluated for rumen proliferation and fecal shedding of E. coli O157:H7. Calves fed the high-roughage diet had lower mean rumen volatile fatty acid concentrations and higher rumen pH values than did calves fed the high-concentrate diet. Despite these differences in rumen conditions, the calves fed the high-roughage diet did not have greater rumen populations of E. coli O157: H7 and did not exhibit increased or longer fecal shedding compared with the calves fed the high-concentrate diet. Two calves shedding the highest mean concentrations of E. coli O157:H7 were both fed the high-concentrate diet. There was a significant (P < 0.05) positive correlation between fecal shedding and rumen volatile fatty acid concentration in calves fed a high-concentrate diet. The effects of diet on E. coli O157:H7 proliferation and acid resistance were investigated using an in vitro rumen fermentation system. Rumen fluid collected from steers fed a high-roughage diet, but not from steers fed a high-concentrate diet, supported the proliferation of E. coli O157:H7. Rumen fluid from steers fed a high-concentrate diet rapidly induced acid resistance in E. coli O157:H7. The impact of diet on fecal shedding of E. coli O157:H7 is still unclear and may depend on dietary effects on fermentation in the colon and on diet-induced changes in the resident microflora. However, rapid development of acid tolerance by E. coli O157:H7 in the rumens of calves fed high-concentrate diets, allowing larger populations to survive passage through the acidic abomasum to proliferate in the colon, may be one factor that influences fecal shedding in cattle on feed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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