"It's becoming more and more difficult to study these pathogens because you have to be a jack of all trades," said T.G. Nagaraja, professor of diagnostic medicine pathobiology at K-State's College of Veterinary Medicine.
Nagaraja leads a research group that includes epidemiologists, molecular biologists, production animal medicine experts and feedlot nutritionists.
For the past five years, Nagaraja has been leading the team on an E. coli 0157 research project that goes back more than a decade at K-State. E. coli 0157 doesn't cause problems for livestock, but it's zoonotic -- that is, it can be passed on to humans through the food supply.
"Our goals are fairly simple," Nagaraja said. "We want to understand the ecology of E. coli 0157 in cattle and come up with practical, on-farm intervention strategies."
The rest of the research team includes Sanjeev Narayanan, assistant professor of pathology and molecular biology; Richard Oberst, professor of microbiology; David Renter, assistant professor in epidemiology; Mike Sanderson, associate professor of epidemiology and production animal medicine; Daniel Thomson, assistant professor of feedlot production medicine; and Ludek Zurek, associate professor of entomology.
Collaborators include K-State's Mike Apley, associate professor of production animal medicine; Jim Drouillard, professor of feedlot nutrition; Larry Hollis, professor in animal sciences and industry; Justin Kastner, assistant professor of food safety and security; and Abby Nutsch, assistant professor of food microbiology; as well as Kelly Lechtenberg, director of Midwest Veterinary Research Inc. in Oakland, Neb.
The research team is working to answer questions like why some cattle have E. coli 0157 and some don't, and why some shed the bacteria for a longer time or at higher levels than others.
The K-State researchers also want to understand why the presence of 0157 is higher during some months than in others, and why animals under stress shed more of the bacteria than other animals.
"If we find out answers to these questions, we can come up with intervention strategies," Nagaraja said. "The first part of the research is to look at the ecology, and the second part is to develop tests and practical intervention strategies."
For instance, Thomson is doing research with a company in Minnesota on a vaccine with antibodies that prevent the bacteria from getting iron, which they need to live. All three studies have shown a reduction in the prevalence of 0157 when the vaccine is used, Nagaraja said.
He also said that researchers are looking at what changes they could make in cattle diets that would make the animals' digestive systems less hospitable to 0157. Because the bacteria seem to congregate in the hindgut, Nagaraja said feeding cattle a diet that will reach the hindgut and produce acid will be effective in killing 0157. He also said that probiotics -- beneficial bacteria, like what humans can get though eating yogurt -- can reduce 0157 because they out compete the bacteria for resources.
Salmonella, one of the most common causes of gastroenteritis and which is spread through contaminated ground beef and manure-fertilized produce, also harms livestock. It causes bloody diarrhea in feedlot cattle and causes dairy cattle to abort. Renter's work centers on finding out why feedlot cattle that are being treated for other infections may show a higher rate of salmonella than healthy cattle. To find out the serotype of the salmonella, veterinarians and researchers have to send samples to a laboratory in Iowa. Narayanan is working to develop a rapid, molecular-based testing method that is more accessible.
Nagaraja said that in the future the research team will pursue the goal of eliminating 0157 and salmonella. Although 0157 also is spread by grain-eating birds that carry the bacteria from one feedlot to another, it poses less of a challenge than salmonella. Nagaraja said that rodents and other animals that live in barns carry salmonella, so the research team hopes to at least reduce its prevalence. The research team also is studying antimicrobial resistance with the hopes of preventing foodborne pathogens from becoming more dangerous to humans and animals.
"Salmonella is notorious for becoming resistant to multiple antibiotics," Nagaraja said. "Also, it can transfer the genes that cause antibacterial resistance to other bacteria. Our primary objective is to develop a synergistic program to evaluate the role of the cattle industry on the prevalence, amplification and spread of antimicrobial resistance."
T.G. Nagaraja | EurekAlert!
Raiding the rape field
23.05.2018 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg
New technique reveals details of forest fire recovery
17.05.2018 | DOE/Brookhaven National Laboratory
The more electronics steer, accelerate and brake cars, the more important it is to protect them against cyber-attacks. That is why 15 partners from industry and academia will work together over the next three years on new approaches to IT security in self-driving cars. The joint project goes by the name Security For Connected, Autonomous Cars (SecForCARs) and has funding of €7.2 million from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. Infineon is leading the project.
Vehicles already offer diverse communication interfaces and more and more automated functions, such as distance and lane-keeping assist systems. At the same...
A research team led by physicists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has developed molecular nanoswitches that can be toggled between two structurally different states using an applied voltage. They can serve as the basis for a pioneering class of devices that could replace silicon-based components with organic molecules.
The development of new electronic technologies drives the incessant reduction of functional component sizes. In the context of an international collaborative...
At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.
At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...
There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?
At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...
So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics
Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...
25.05.2018 | Event News
02.05.2018 | Event News
13.04.2018 | Event News
25.05.2018 | Event News
25.05.2018 | Machine Engineering
25.05.2018 | Life Sciences