Acyl-homoserine-lactone autoinducer in the gastrointestinal [corrected] tract of feedlot cattle and correlation to season, E. coli O157:H7 prevalence, and diet.

Research paper by T S TS Edrington, R L RL Farrow, V V Sperandio, D T DT Hughes, T E TE Lawrence, T R TR Callaway, R C RC Anderson, D J DJ Nisbet

Indexed on: 05 Nov '08Published on: 05 Nov '08Published in: Current Microbiology


Acyl-homoserine-lactone autoinducer (AHL) produced by nonenterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli species in cattle appears to be required for enterohemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC) colonization of the gastrointestinal tract (GIT). The current research aimed to examine the effect of season, diet, EHEC shedding, and location within the GIT on AHL prevalence in the ruminant. Luminal content samples were collected from the rumen and rectum of feedlot cattle at slaughter in the spring, summer, fall, and winter for culture of E. coli O157:H7 and AHL determination. During the spring collection, samples were additionally collected from the cecum and small intestine, but these samples all were AHL negative and therefore not examined again. To assess the influence of diet on AHL prevalence, 14 lambs were fed either 100% forage or 80% concentrate diets and experimentally inoculated with EHEC. At 8 days after infection, all the lambs were killed, and necropsies were taken, with luminal contents collected from the GIT. The collections from the feedlot cattle had AHL in 100% of the rumen content samples from the spring, summer, and fall, but not in any of the winter samples. No other GIT samples from feedlot cattle were AHL positive, and all the samples from the sheep study were AHL negative. The cattle seemed to show a weak correlation between ruminal AHL and EHEC prevalence. This research found AHL only in the rumen and not in the lower GIT of feedlot cattle. However, it is unclear whether this is because the pH of the lower gut destroys the AHL or because a lack of certain bacteria in the lower gut producing AHL.