January 22, 2008

K-State: Too soon to tell about E. coli, DDGs

More research is needed before reaching any conclusions about the impact of distillers dried grains (DDGs) on E. coli O157 in cattle, according to researchers at Kansas State University.

Research by T.G. Nagaraja, a professor of microbiology, and Jim Drouillard, professor of animal science, found that feeding beef cattle a diet that included 25 percent DDGs increased the prevalence of the pathogenic strain of E. coli in the animals’ manure. The announcement caused a storm of publicity over the increased use of DDGs produced by the growing ethanol industry. However, Nagaraja said it was too soon to rush to conclusions about the food safety implications of DDGs. “We’ll need to look at the entire body of evidence before we can make any recommendations,” Drouillard said, noting that many other universities are working on similar studies.

It is likely that nothing will become of the intial study at K-State. Different research facilities have not noted any increase of E.Coli in cattle that use ddgs.

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