Prevention of serious infections and antibiotic use in calves by feeding milk fermented with specialised lactic acid bacteria

Project Details


Neonatal diarrhea and related mortality in calves is a major problem in dairy herds and constitutes a serious animal welfare and economic burden. Infections by E. coli is a major cause, but Salmonella Dublin contributes and cause also lethal food borne infections in humans. The project aims to develop a novel feeding system for calves, which targets these two bacteria and increase health for animals and humans. The idea is to exploit the ability of some lactic acid bacteria (LAB) to break the milk protein into small molecules, which specifically target the virulence mechanism in pathogenic gut bacteria. We will identify LAB, which, after growth in milk, provides the fermented milk the capacity to inhibit S. Dublin and E. coli. Thise Dairy Company will develop a yogurt product with the expected property to reduce enteric disease in calves. The product will be tested in herds suffering from neonatal diarrhea. A period after the calf is born the milk cannot be sold and will be fed to the calves. By developing on-farm fermentation tank system and a starting culture, the farmer can produce his own yogurt using the special LAB, and will achieve a better protection of calves compared to the ordinary feeding. We expect a considerable reduction in diarrhea, mortality, and antibiotic use among calves. At the same time we contribute to the eradication of S. Dublin and lower the risk of foodborne infection. The farmers gain the largest economic benefit, which can pay for the investment.
Effective start/end date01/10/201901/03/2022


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