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


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. <P>
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.

Nisbet, David; McKinnon, Kathryn; Farrow, Russell ; Edrington, Thomas; Callaway, Todd; Anderson, Robin
USDA - Agricultural Research Service
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