Roger Beachy, Director of USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture, has announced a research grant award to Michigan State University to reduce "shedding," or the release of E. coli from the digestive tract, of shiga toxin-producing E. coli from cattle. The project, led by Dr. Shannon Manning, will study shedding from cattle and develop strategies to reduce the shedding, with the intent of decreasing the number of illnesses.
More than 70,000 people become ill due to shiga toxin-producing E. coli every year. Most outbreaks are caused by contact with fecal materials from cattle and other ruminant animals, yet little is known about shedding from these animals. Beachy says understanding how the bacteria contaminate water and food supplies will help prevent thousands of illnesses and improve the safety of the nation's food.
With the $2.5 million grant, awarded through NIFA's Agriculture and Food research Initiative, Manning and her team of researchers will examine the host as well as genetic, microbial and environmental factors associated with STEC shedding.