Adding orange peels to cattle feed may reduce the prevalence pathogenic bacteria, such as E. coli and Salmonella, in cows' gastrointestinal tracts, according to a new study from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service.
Researchers found that sheep fed orange peel pellets resulted in a 10-fold reduction in Salmonella and E. coli O157:H7 in the animals' intestinal contents.
The ARS study brought together two other, separate studies: one focusing on the anti-microbial properties of citrus oils and another investigating the potential uses of citrus wastes as animal feed. Citrus peels contain a chemical that is toxic to pigs and poultry, but cows, with their four stomachs, have no trouble digesting the peels, according to the study. The researchers' next move is to field-test the orange-peel-infused feed in cattle around the U.S.