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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: ENVIRONMENTALLY SOUND MANURE MANAGEMENT FOR REDUCTION OF GAS EMISSIONS, NUTRIENTS, AND PATHOGENS

Location: Agroecosystem Management Research

Title: Comparison of bacterial communities in faeces of beef cattle fed diets containing corn and wet distillers grain with solubles

Authors
item Durso, Lisa
item Wells, James
item Harhay, Gregory
item Rice, William
item Kuehn, Larry
item Bono, James
item Shackelford, Steven
item Wheeler, Tommy
item Smith, Timothy

Submitted to: Letters in Applied Microbiology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: May 5, 2012
Publication Date: August 1, 2012
Repository URL: http://handle.nal.usda.gov/10113/54361
Citation: Durso, L.M., Wells, J., Harhay, G.P., Rice, W.C., Kuehn, L.A., Bono, J.L., Shackelford, S.D., Wheeler, T.L., Smith, T.P. 2012. Comparison of bacterial communities in faeces of beef cattle fed diets containing corn and wet distillers grain with solubles. Letters in Applied Microbiology. 55(2):109-14. DOI: 10.1111/J.1472-765X.2012.03265.X.

Interpretive Summary: The bacteria associated with beef cattle feedlots can impact animal health, human health, and environmental quality, yet the microbial ecology of the feedlot is poorly understood. While some bacteria are found primarily in either the animal intestine or the feedlot pen, bacteria such as E. coli cycle through both habitats. Both generic and pathogenic E. coli are important in the beef cattle feedlot. Generic E. coli is significant as a fecal indicator organism that is widely monitored for the enforcement of water quality standards, and pathogenic Shiga-toxigenic E. coli (STEC) is an important foodborne pathogen. Though frequently thought of as the predominant bacteria associated with cattle feces, both generic and pathogenic E. coli are only minority members of the fecal bacterial community. Generic E. coli and STEC must therefore interact and compete with a wide variety of other bacteria. We used DNA-based methods to inventory the bacteria faced by E. coli in the cattle intestine when the animals were fed a wet distillers grain with solubles (WDGS) compared to a traditional corn diet. This is the first study describing the bacteria of beef cattle fed WDGS diets, and the first to specifically test the hypothesis that the underlying bacterial community structure is different in animals fed corn or WDGS diets. Generic and pathogenic E. coli must interact with other fecal community members, and compete for resources. Knowing which bacteria are present in cattle feces from different diets is an important element in understanding the feedlot ecology of E. coli.

Technical Abstract: Aim: The microbial ecology of feedlot Escherichia coli is poorly understood. It is a minority component of feces and must interact with many other bacteria. Use of wet distiller’s grains with solubles (WDGS) in cattle feed creates a gastrointestinal environment where some bacterial species are enriched. Here we examine if these changes result in fundamentally different microbial community structures. Methods and Results: 20,002 16S r-RNA gene-sequences from 20 beef cattle were analyzed using traditional sequencing methods. Results indicate bacterial communities in WDGS fed animals are distinct from those in animals fed corn. Conclusions: E. coli faces a different microbial community in animals fed WDGS compared to animals fed corn. Fecal communities of co-housed beef cattle are not identical. Significance and Impact of the Study: This is the first study describing the bacteria of beef cattle fed WDGS diets, and the first to specifically test the hypothesis that the underlying bacterial community structure is different in animals fed corn or WDGS diets. Generic and pathogenic E. coli must interact with other fecal community members, and compete for resources. Knowing which bacteria are present in cattle feces from different diets is an important element in understanding the feedlot ecology of E. coli.

Last Modified: 12/21/2014
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