Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Diet And Disease In Cattle: High-Grain Feed May Promote Illness And Harmful Bacteria

Date:
May 11, 2001
Source:
American Association For The Advancement Of Science
Summary:
Grain-fed cattle provide nicely marbled beef. Yet, low-fiber diets can make cattle sick, while allowing harmful bacteria to proliferate, a paper in the 11 May 2001 issue of Science reports. "When cattle are fed grain, productivity is increased, but fiber-deficient rations can disrupt physiological mechanisms," said James B. Russell of the Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture in Ithaca, New York.

Grain-fed cattle provide nicely marbled beef. Yet, low-fiber diets can make cattle sick, while allowing harmful bacteria to proliferate, a paper in the 11 May 2001 issue of Science reports.

Related Articles


"When cattle are fed grain, productivity is increased, but fiber-deficient rations can disrupt physiological mechanisms," said James B. Russell of the Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture in Ithaca, New York.

Based on information from 53 different scholarly investigations, the Science article provides peer-reviewed confirmation of findings on the health impacts of high-grain cattle feed.

Diets containing 50- to 90-percent grain "are more digestible and ferment faster, so the animal is provided with nutrients at a faster rate, and they can grow faster," explained Russell, lead author of the Science paper, with Jennifer L. Rychlik, a graduate student at Cornell University.

Low-fiber rations "can be very stressful for the animal," however, because they allow fermentation acids to accumulate within a digestive compartment called the "rumen," Russell added. In ruminant animals, he noted, fiber digestion depends on fiber-degrading microorganisms, which supply the cattle with useful protein, vitamins and short-chain organic acids. Without fiber, these acids are not absorbed as efficiently, as the animal's physiological mechanisms can be disturbed.

Acid buildup can cause ulcers in animals consuming too much grain: "Then what happens is that infectious bacteria come from the rumen through the ulcers, into blood, and finally into the liver, where they cause abscesses," Russell said. Feed additives such as antibiotics can counteract such ailments, but they further alter the ruminal microbial ecosystem, he added.

Grains can accumulate in an animal's intestines because they lack starch-digesting enzymes. Thus, a high-grain diet can promote an overgrowth of Clostridium perfringens, a bacterium associated with sudden death in feedlot cattle, Russell's article suggests.

Finally, grain-based diets can promote Escherichia coli (E. coli) within the digestive tract of cattle, and these E. coli are more likely to survive acid shocks that mimic the human gastric stomach. This discovery, first reported by Russell and colleagues in 1998 (Science, 11 September), has now been confirmed. Other USDA scientists have likewise shown that cattle switched from grain-based diets to hay were less likely to shed harmful E. coli 0157:H7 in feces.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Association For The Advancement Of Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

American Association For The Advancement Of Science. "Diet And Disease In Cattle: High-Grain Feed May Promote Illness And Harmful Bacteria." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 May 2001. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/05/010511074623.htm>.
American Association For The Advancement Of Science. (2001, May 11). Diet And Disease In Cattle: High-Grain Feed May Promote Illness And Harmful Bacteria. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/05/010511074623.htm
American Association For The Advancement Of Science. "Diet And Disease In Cattle: High-Grain Feed May Promote Illness And Harmful Bacteria." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/05/010511074623.htm (accessed December 21, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Monarch Butterflies Descend Upon Mexican Forest During Annual Migration

Monarch Butterflies Descend Upon Mexican Forest During Annual Migration

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Dec. 19, 2014) Millions of monarch butterflies begin to descend onto Mexico as part of their annual migration south. Rough Cut (no reporter narration) Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Protein-Filled Foods to Energize You for the New Year

The Best Protein-Filled Foods to Energize You for the New Year

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) The new year is coming and nothing will energize you more for 2015 than protein-filled foods. Fitness and nutrition expert John Basedow (@JohnBasedow) gives his favorite high protein foods that will help you build muscle, lose fat and have endless energy. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Birds Might Be Better Meteorologists Than Us

Birds Might Be Better Meteorologists Than Us

Newsy (Dec. 19, 2014) A new study suggests a certain type of bird was able to sense a tornado outbreak that moved through the U.S. a day before it hit. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins