such as "Introduction", "Conclusion"..etc
Ethanol plants and livestock producers have created a symbiotic
relationship. Cattle producers feed their livestock distiller's grains,
a byproduct of the ethanol distilling process, giving ethanol producers
have an added source of income.
But recent research at Kansas State University has found that cattle
fed distiller's grain have an increased prevalence of E. coli 0157 in
their hindgut. This particular type of E. coli is present in healthy
cattle but poses a health risk to humans, who can acquire it through
undercooked meat, raw dairy products and produce contaminated with
"Distiller's grain is a good animal feed. That's why ethanol plants
are often built next to feedlots," said T.G. Nagaraja, a professor of
diagnostic medicine and pathobiology at K-State's College of Veterinary
The growth in ethanol plants means more cattle are likely to be fed
distiller's grain, therefore harboring 0157 and potentially a source of
health risks to humans, Nagaraja said. That's why he and Jim
Drouillard, K-State professor of animal sciences, have been
collaborating on testing distiller's grain-fed cattle for 0157.
Nagaraja and Drouillard, who studied the carcass quality of cattle fed
distiller's grain, are joined by Megan Jacob, a K-State doctoral
student in pathobiology. Through three rounds of testing, Nagaraja said
the prevalence of 0157 was about twice as high in cattle fed
distiller's grain compared with those cattle that were on a diet
lacking the ethanol byproduct.
"This is a very interesting observation and is likely to have profound implications in food safety," Nagaraja said.
Food safety and animal health are research priorities at K-State,
which since 1999 has dedicated more than $70 million on research
related to animal health and food safety. More than 150 K-Staters are
actively involved in these areas.
Nagaraja said research in the next few years will focus on finding
out why 0157 is more prevalent in cattle fed a distiller's grain diet.
He said it could be something that changes in the animals' hindgut as a
result of feeding distiller's grains, or maybe the byproduct provides a
nutrient for the bacteria.
"Feeding cattle distiller's grain is a big economic advantage for
ethanol plants," Nagaraja said. "We realize we can't tell cattle
producers, 'Don't feed distiller's grain.' What we want to do is not
only understand the reasons why 0157 increases, but also find a way to
prevent that from happening."
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