Macrolide-susceptible probiotic Enterococcus faecium ST296 exhibits faecal-environmental-oral microbial community cycling among beef cattle in feedlots. Academic Article uri icon


  • Enterococci are included in the United States National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System to track antibiotic resistance among commensal Gram-positive enteric bacteria, largely due to their high abundance in food animals and in retail meat. In the U.S. cattle industry, macrolides are used to prevent and control liver abscesses, which cause significant economic losses. Previous studies have suggested that feeding tylosin and the intensity of the pen environment, both expand and sustain respectively the prevalence of multidrug resistance among enterococci in feedlot cattle. This has led to research into alternative feed supplements and improved stewardship practices. In a randomized controlled trial, we measured the impact of a probiotic and an altered pen environment on antimicrobial resistance among faecal Enterococcus spp. in cattle fed tylosin. Supplementing cattle with an Enterococcus faecium and Saccharomyces cerevisiae-based probiotic yielded the isolation of E. faecium of the probiotic sequence type (ST296) from faecal and environmental samples in treatment groups, as well as from cattle and the manure pack in nearby pens. Of importance, the probiotic strain also was found in a desiccated and milled manure pack sample taken 120days after the initial trial ended. Phylogenetic and SNP analyses revealed clonal survival and spread compatible with faecal-environmental-oral recycling of the probiotic strain within and among cattle and pens. The increase in prevalence of the ST296 strain occurred concomitant with a decrease in ST240, the dominant sequence type associated with ermB and tet(M) resistance genes in this trial. SIGNIFICANCE AND IMPACT OF THE STUDY: We demonstrate that a macrolide-susceptible probiotic Enterococcus faecium ST296 strain fed to beef cattle becomes fully embedded in the microbial community cycling of bacteria via faecal-environmental-oral transmission within and among feedlot pens. An initial investment in feeding the probiotic is thereby leveraged into expanding numbers of susceptible bacteria in cattle and their environment, even among those cattle fed tylosin.

published proceedings

  • Lett Appl Microbiol

altmetric score

  • 1.5

author list (cited authors)

  • Murray, S. A., Holbert, A. C., Norman, K. N., Lawhon, S. D., Sawyer, J. E., & Scott, H. M.

citation count

  • 3

complete list of authors

  • Murray, SA||Holbert, AC||Norman, KN||Lawhon, SD||Sawyer, JE||Scott, HM

publication date

  • April 2020