Open Access Short Report

A prebiotic, Celmanax™, decreases Escherichia coli O157:H7 colonization of bovine cells and feed-associated cytotoxicity in vitro

Danica Baines1*, Stephanie Erb1, Ross Lowe1, Kelly Turkington2, Emil Sabau3, Gretchen Kuldau4, Jean Juba5, Luke Masson6, Alberto Mazza6 and Ray Roberts7

Author Affiliations

1 Lethbridge Research Centre, 5403 1 Avenue South, P.O. Box 3000, Lethbridge, AB, T1J 4B1, Canada

2 Lacombe Research Centre, 6000 C and E Trail Lacombe, AB, T4L 1W1, Canada

3 Emil Veterinary Services Ltd, 339 Highway Av, Picture Butte, AB, T0K 1V0, Canada

4 PENNSTATE, 321 Buckhout Laboratory, University Park, PA, 16802-4508, USA

5 Fusarium Research Center, PENNSTATE, 216 Buckhout Laboratory, University Park, PA, 16802, USA

6 Biotechnology Research Institute, National Research Council of Canada, Montréal, QC, H4P 2R2, Canada

7 Lethbridge Animal Clinic, 3333 1 Avenue South, Lethbridge, AB T1J 4H1, Canada

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BMC Research Notes 2011, 4:110  doi:10.1186/1756-0500-4-110

Published: 7 April 2011



Escherichia coli O157:H7 is the most common serovar of enterohemorrhagic E. coli associated with serious human disease outbreaks. Cattle are the main reservoir with E. coli O157:H7 inducing hemorrhagic enteritis in persistent shedding beef cattle, however little is known about how this pathogen affects cattle health. Jejunal Hemorrhage Syndrome (JHS) has unclear etiology but the pathology is similar to that described for E. coli O157:H7 challenged beef cattle suggestive that E. coli O157:H7 could be involved. There are no effective treatments for JHS however new approaches to managing pathogen issues in livestock using prebiotics and probiotics are gaining support. The first objective of the current study was to characterize pathogen colonization in hemorrhaged jejunum of dairy cattle during natural JHS outbreaks. The second objective was to confirm the association of mycotoxigenic fungi in feeds with the development of JHS and also to identify the presence of potential mycotoxins. The third objective was to determine the impact of a prebiotic, Celmanax™, or probiotic, Dairyman's Choice™ paste, on the cytotoxicity associated with feed extracts in vitro. The fourth objective was to determine the impact of a prebiotic or a probiotic on E. coli O157:H7 colonization of mucosal explants and a bovine colonic cell line in vitro. The final objective was to determine if prebiotic and probiotic feed additives could modify the symptoms that preceded JHS losses and the development of new JHS cases.


Dairy cattle developed JHS after consuming feed containing several types of mycotoxigenic fungi including Fusarium culmorum, F. poae, F. verticillioides, F. sporotrichioides, Aspergillusflavus, Penicillium roqueforti, P. crustosum, P. paneum and P. citrinum. Mixtures of Shiga toxin - producing Escherichia coli (STEC) colonized the mucosa in the hemorrhaged tissues of the cattle and no other pathogen was identified. The STECs expressed Stx1 and Stx2, but more significantly, Stxs were also present in the blood clot blocking the jejunum. Mycotoxin analysis of the corn crop confirmed the presence of fumonisin, NIV, ZEAR, DON, 15-ADON, 3-ADON, NEO, DAS, HT-2 and T-2. Feed extracts were toxic to enterocytes and 0.1% Celmanax™ removed the cytotoxicity in vitro. There was no effect of Dairyman's Choice™ paste on feed-extract activity in vitro. Fumonisin, T-2, ZEAR and DON were toxic to bovine cells and 0.1% Celmanax™ removed the cytotoxicity in vitro. Celmanax™ also directly decreased E. coli O157:H7 colonization of mucosal explants and a colonic cell line in a dose-dependent manner. There was no effect of Dairyman's Choice™ paste on E. coli O157:H7 colonization in vitro. The inclusion of the prebiotic and probiotic in the feed was associated with a decline in disease.


The current study confirmed an association between mycotoxigenic fungi in the feed and the development of JHS in cattle. This association was further expanded to include mycotoxins in the feed and mixtures of STECs colonizing the severely hemorrhaged tissues. Future studies should examine the extent of involvement of the different STEC in the infection process. The prebiotic, Celmanax™, acted as an anti-adhesive for STEC colonization and a mycotoxin binder in vitro. Future studies should determine the extent of involvement of the prebiotic in altering disease.