Alternative treatments for chronic bacterial infection of sheep and goats

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Abstract Summary

Caseous lymphadenitis (CL) is a chronic disease of sheep and goats caused by the pathogenic bacterium, Corynebacterium pseudotuberculosis (Cp). The disease is characterized by the formation of “caseous” abscesses which cause significant decreases in wool, meat, and milk production of these animals, costing the worldwide industry millions of dollars each year. Once shed via ruptured abscesses, Cp remains infective in the environment for long periods of time, where it can quickly spread to the rest of the herd. Antibiotics have had limited success in treating CL, due to the difficulty of penetrating the dry, thick-walled abscesses. The purpose of this project is to find an alternative method of treatment and control of CL using components of essential oils with known antimicrobial properties. Essential oils are complex bioactive compounds that have been increasingly explored as sources of antimicrobial activity as the Food and Drug Administration is discouraging use of medically-important antibiotics in food animals. The minimum inhibitory concentrations of nine essential oil components were tested using a standard disk diffusion assay. Five of these components (thymol, carvacrol, trans-cinnamaldehyde, cuminaldehyde, and B-citronellol), successfully inhibited the growth of Cp in vitro and will be tested for cytotoxicity of mammalian cells. Due to the nature of essential oils, tissue penetration may be possible, and environmental treatment (as disinfectants of farm surfaces, such as feeders or shearing equipment) may be easily done. By maintaining healthy flocks and eliminating the need for toxic disinfection methods, this project could have a positive impact on sustainable agriculture.


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Natural Sciences
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