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K-State research team to study E. coli O157:H7 in beef cow-calf operations

April 26, 2010

[Source: Kansas State University and the High Plains Journal]

NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF FOOD AND AGRICULTURE GRANTS $465,000 TO K-STATE RESEARCH TEAM TO STUDY E. COLI O157:H7 IN BEEF COW-CALF OPERATIONS IN KANSAS AND NEBRASKA

The smallest bacterium that is harmless to cattle can be deadly once the food supply is contaminated. That’s why Kansas State University’s T.G. Nagaraja, a university distinguished professor of diagnostic medicine and pathobiology, finds it’s important to learn as much as possible about E. coli O157:H7.

“The more we know about how E. coli O157:H7 operates in cattle and its environment, the better our ability to come up with strategies to control it,” said Nagaraja, who has been studying the bacterium for more than a decade through grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and animal health companies.

Nagaraja’s newest study of E. coli O157:H7 is being supported by a $465,000 grant from the Department of Agriculture through its National Institute of Food and Agriculture. The project title is “Ecology of E. coli O157:H7 in Beef Cow-Calf Operations from Ranch to Feedlot.”

Nagaraja’s newest study of E. coli O157:H7 is being supported by a $465,000 grant from the Department of Agriculture through its National Institute of Food and Agriculture. The project title is “Ecology of E. coli O157:H7 in Beef Cow-Calf Operations from Ranch to Feedlot.”

“This new project involves collaborative interaction with other disciplines at K-State such as entomology, production medicine and epidemiology,” Nagaraja said. “We will be collecting samples from several feedlots and slaughter houses in Kansas and Nebraska.”

The project’s co-investigators include David Renter, associate professor of epidemiology; Mike Sanderson, professor of production medicine; Jianfa Bai, assistant professor of molecular biology; and Ludek Zurek, associate professor in microbial ecology.

“This grant is super,” said M.M. Chengappa, university distinguished professor and head of the department of diagnostic medicine and pathobiology. “It’s become more and more important that we perform research through collaborations with different departments. Dr. Nagaraja has assembled a team of experts who will help look at this problem from many different perspectives.”

Nagaraja said the grant will help provide funding for graduate assistants, supply costs and travel necessary for gathering research samples.

The National Institute of Food and Agriculture focuses on investing in science and solving critical issues impacting people’s daily lives and the nation’s future through federal funding and leadership for research, education and extension programs.

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