WOOSTER, Ohio – Under laboratory conditions, sawdust bedding not only yielded higher counts of E. coli O157:H7 than sand bedding; it also harbored the pathogen longer.
This finding was also confirmed by Ohio State researcher Jeff LeJeune’s on-farm sampling.
The number of days when feces tested positive for E. coli O157:H7 was higher in sawdust-bedded herds (22 out of 60 days) as compared to sand-bedded herds (13 out of 60 days).
One explanation may be that sand bedding contains less available organic matter and nutrients – where bacteria can easily reproduce – than sawdust. Sand also has lower water content, which is believed to inhibit bacterial growth in fresh bedding.
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