Submitted to: Journal of Animal Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/8/2012
Publication Date: 8/2/2012
Citation: Smith, D.J., Oliver, C.E., Taylor, J.B., Anderson, R.C. 2012. Efficacy, metabolism, and toxic responses to chlorate salts in food and laboratory animals. Journal of Animal Science. 90:4098-4117.
Interpretive Summary: Scientists at the USDA ARS facilities in College Station, TX have discovered that providing sodium chlorate in the drinking water or feed of livestock will reduce the intestinal concentrations of bacteria harmful to humans. When gastrointestinal levels of harmful bacteria are reduced, the probability of harmful bacteria contaminating meat products at slaughter is also reduced. The purpose of this article is to summarize studies that have investigated the actions of sodium chlorate in food animals, the toxic effects of chlorate in food and laboratory animals, and the metabolism and disposition of chlorate in investigational animals. To date, the body of literature suggests that chlorate salts are active against human pathogens such as Salmonella and E. coli O157:H7; that chlorate salts are very well tolerated by most species of animals; and that chlorate is metabolized in food and laboratory animals to a single, non-toxic metabolite. Collectively, these results suggest that chlorate salts could be developed into a useful and safe feed or water additive for use in livestock.
Technical Abstract: For over 100 years, scientists have explored uses of sodium chlorate in agricultural applications. Sodium chlorate is a strong oxidizer, and thus can be very hazardous when not handled accordingly. Nevertheless, late 19th century agriculturists and scientists attempted to exploit the chemical properties of sodium chlorate as an herbicide and food preservative. It is the herbicidal utility that led to subsequent use of sodium chlorate in the agricultural industry since then. However, in 2000, USDA, ARS scientists proposed a new and targeted use of sodium chlorate against enterobacteria in food animal production. Specifically, when orally dosed in livestock, chlorate reduced the fecal shedding of common enteropathogens of the Enterobacteriaceae family. This was a revolutionary discovery, especially in an age and society where much emphasis is placed on food safety, bacterial antibiotic resistance, and curtailing use of feed-grade antibiotics. Recently, much progress has been made in testing the antimicrobial efficacy of sodium chlorate in various food animal species. Subsequent results have prompted the food animal and feeding industries to consider large scale and strategic use sodium chlorate in pre-slaughter management of food animals. However, application of any new chemical entity to food animal production carries with it a responsibility to understand adverse reactions that intended and non-intended exposures may have in target and(or) non-target animals and an understanding of the pathways of elimination that occur after exposure. Therefore, the purpose of this review is to discuss the published data regarding the efficacy, metabolism and toxicology of chlorate salts in target (livestock) and non-target species.