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Influence of genotype and diet on steer performance, manure odor, and carriage of pathogenic and other fecal bacteria. II. Pathogenic and other fecal bacteria

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This study assessed the influence of cattle genotype and diet on the carriage and shedding of zoonotic bacterial pathogens and levels of generic Escherichia coli in feces and ruminal contents of beef cattle during the growing and finishing periods. Fifty-one steers of varying proportions of Brahman and MARC III [0 (15), [fraction one-quarter] (20), [fraction one-half] (7), and [fraction three-quarters] Brahman (9)] genotypes were divided among 8 pens, such that each breed type was represented in each pen. Four pens each were assigned to 1 of 2 diets [100% chopped bromegrass hay or a diet composed primarily of corn silage (87%)] that were individually fed for a 119-d growing period, at which time the steers were switched to the same high-concentrate, corn-based finishing diet and fed to a target weight of 560 kg. Feces or ruminal fluid were collected and analyzed at alternating intervals of 14 d or less. Generic E. coli concentrations in feces or ruminal fluid did not differ (P > 0.10) by genotype or by growing diet in the growing or finishing periods. However, the concentrations in both feces and ruminal fluid increased in all cattle when switched to the same high-corn diet in the finishing period. There was no effect (P > 0.25) of diet or genotype during either period on E. coli O157 shedding in feces. Forty-one percent of the steers were positive for Campylobacter spp. at least once during the study, and repeated isolations of Campylobacter spp. from the same steer were common. These repeated isolations from the same animals may be responsible for the apparent diet (P = 0.05) and genotype effects (P = 0.02) on Campylobacter in feces in the finishing period. Cells bearing stx genes were detected frequently in both feces (22.5%) and ruminal fluid (19.6%). The number of stx-positive fecal samples was greater (P < 0.05) for [fraction one-half] Brahman steers (42.9%) than for [fraction one-quarter] Brahman (25.0%) or [fraction three-quarters] Brahman steers (22.2%), but were not different compared with MARC III steers (38.3%). The greater feed consumption of [fraction one-half] Brahman and MARC III steers may have resulted in greater starch passage into the colon, accompanied by an increase in fecal bacterial populations, which may have further improved the ability to detect stx genes in these cattle. There was no correlation between either ADG or daily DMI and the number of positive samples of E. coli O157, Campylobacter spp., or stx genes, which agrees with our current understanding that these microorganisms occur commonly in, and with no measurable detriment to, healthy cattle.
Berry, E.D. , Wells, J.E. , Archibeque, S.L. , Ferrell, C.L. , Freetly, H.C. , Miller, D.N.
steers , beef cattle , genotype , genetic variation , cattle feeding , zebu , feed rations , hay , feed concentrates , feces , animal pathogenic bacteria , bacterial infections , zoonoses , Escherichia coli , digesta , rumen fluids , Campylobacter , food pathogens , starch , colon , dry matter intake , microbial genetics , genes , liveweight gain
p. 2523-2532.
Includes references
Journal of animal science 2006 Sept., v. 84, no. 9
American Society of Animal Science
Journal Articles, USDA Authors, Peer-Reviewed
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