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J Dairy Sci. 2007 Dec;90(12):5473-82.

Bacillus cereus in free-stall bedding.

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1
Department of Agricultural Biosystems and Technology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, SE-230 53 Alnarp, Sweden. madeleine.magnusson@ltj.slu.se

Abstract

To increase the understanding of how different factors affect the bacterial growth in deep sawdust beds for dairy cattle, the microbiological status of Bacillus cereus and coliforms in deep sawdust-bedded free stalls was investigated over two 14-d periods on one farm. High counts of B. cereus and coliforms were found in the entire beds. On average, 4.1 log(10) B. cereus spores, 5.5 log(10) B. cereus, and 6.7 log(10) coliforms per gram of bedding could be found in the upper layers of the sawdust likely to be in contact with the cows' udders. The highest counts of B. cereus spores, B. cereus, and coliforms were found in the bedding before fresh bedding was added, and the lowest immediately afterwards. Different factors of importance for the growth of B. cereus in the bedding material were explored in laboratory tests. These were found to be the type of bedding, pH, and the type and availability of nutrients. Alternative bedding material such as peat and mixtures of peat and sawdust inhibited the bacterial growth of B. cereus. The extent of growth of B. cereus in the sawdust was increased in a dose-dependent manner by the availability of feces. Urine added to different bedding material raised the pH and also led to bacterial growth of B. cereus in the peat. In sawdust, a dry matter content greater than 70% was needed to lower the water activity to 0.95, which is needed to inhibit the growth of B. cereus. In an attempt to reduce the bacterial growth of B. cereus and coliforms in deep sawdust beds on the farm, the effect of giving bedding daily or a full replacement of the beds was studied. The spore count of B. cereus in the back part of the free stalls before fresh bedding was added was 0.9 log units lower in stalls given daily bedding than in stalls given bedding twice weekly. No effect on coliform counts was found. Replacement of the entire sawdust bedding had an effect for a short period, but by 1 to 2 mo after replacement, the counts of B. cereus spores in the beds had increased about 2 log units and were as high as they were before bed replacement. Therefore, free-stall management could, to a limited extent, reduce the content of B. cereus spores in the beds by daily bedding and entire bed replacement.

PMID:
18024738
DOI:
10.3168/jds.2007-0284
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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