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Effect of Vitamin D Supplementation on Fecal Shedding of E. coli O157:H7 in Naturally-Colonized Cattle

Nisbet, David; McKinnon, Kathryn; Farrow, Russell; Edrington, Thomas; Callaway, Todd; Anderson, Robin
USDA - Agricultural Research Service
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Cattle derive vitamin D from both dietary sources and from the ultraviolet light conversion of 7- dehydrocholesterol in the skin. One of the three major target tissues of vitamin D is the intestine, where it stimulates transport of Ca and P across the intestinal brush border. Vitamin D, also known as the sunshine vitamin, is higher in the serum of cattle during the summer months. The seasonal increase in serum vitamin D concentrations taken together with its presence and active role in the intestine, led us to hypothesize that vitamin D may play a role in the seasonal prevalence of E. coli O157:H7.

The objective of the current research was to examine the effect of supplemental vitamin D on fecal shedding of E. coli O157:H7 in naturally-colonized cattle

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Findings: In Experiment I, no differences in the percentage of Holsteins or beef calves shedding E. coli O157:H7 were observed prior to vitamin D treatment. However, during treatment administration, more calves in the vitamin D treatment tended (P = 0.11) to shed E. coli O157:H7 compared to controls (6.5 versus 14.3% for control and vitamin D treatments, respectively). Serum concentrations of vitamin Dwere markedly higher (P < 0.0001) in treated (782 nMol/L) versus control (258 nMol/L) calves. In Experiment II, no differences in fecal prevalence or serum vitamin D concentrations were observed for any of the vitamin D dosages. Differences in fecal shedding among the Holsteins and the beef calves in Experiment I are likely due to the difference in the vitamin D dose administered per unit of BW, as reflected in the serum concentrations of vitamin D.
Funding Source
Nat'l. Cattlemen's Beef Assoc.
Project number
Bacterial Pathogens
Sanitation and Quality Standards
Escherichia coli