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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2004 Sep;70(9):5336-42.

Effect of forage or grain diets with or without monensin on ruminal persistence and fecal Escherichia coli O157:H7 in cattle.

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Department of Diagnostic Medicine/Pathobiology, 305 Coles Hall, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS 66506-5606, USA.


Twelve ruminally cannulated cattle, adapted to forage or grain diet with or without monensin, were used to investigate the effects of diet and monensin on concentration and duration of ruminal persistence and fecal shedding of E. coli O157:H7. Cattle were ruminally inoculated with a strain of E. coli O157:H7 (10(10) CFU/animal) made resistant to nalidixic acid (Nal(r)). Ruminal and fecal samples were collected for 11 weeks, and then cattle were euthanized and necropsied and digesta from different gut locations were collected. Samples were cultured for detection and enumeration of Nal(r) E. coli O157:H7. Cattle fed forage diets were culture positive for E. coli O157:H7 in the feces for longer duration (P < 0.05) than cattle fed a grain diet. In forage-fed cattle, the duration they remained culture positive for E. coli O157:H7 was shorter (P < 0.05) when the diet included monensin. Generally, ruminal persistence of Nal(r) E. coli O157:H7 was not affected by diet or monensin. At necropsy, E. coli O157:H7 was detected in cecal and colonic digesta but not from the rumen. Our study showed that cattle fed a forage diet were culture positive longer and with higher numbers than cattle on a grain diet. Monensin supplementation decreased the duration of shedding with forage diet, and the cecum and colon were culture positive for E. coli O157:H7 more often than the rumen of cattle.

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