stec lab photo


What is the STEC CAP?

This U.S. Department of Agriculture-National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA-NIFA) Coordinated Agricultural Project (CAP) grant, titled Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) in the Beef Chain: Assessing and Mitigating the Risk by Translational Science, Education and Outreach, seeks to significantly advance evidence and action-based beef food safety knowledge to protect public health. This research can be applied to the current food system to lessen the occurrence of foodborne illness related to the eight most common serotypes of pathogenic E. coli found in contaminated foods.

To read more about the STEC CAP, visit our informational page that explains the research objectives.

Want to learn more about Shiga toxin-producing E. coli? Find more information and resources here.

stec research pic

STEC CAP Impacts


Spring 2014
  • Determined that interventions effective for STEC O157:H7 on non-intact beef are also effective for non-O157 STEC.
  • Developed and improved novel molecular and traditional culture methods for detection of non-O157 STEC.
  • Trained 53 interns through STEC-related beef safety projects, including 7 from MSIs.
  • Trained 39 high school teachers about STEC-related beef safety.
  • Developed online bilingual (English-Spanish) training modules for pre- and post-harvest STEC prevention.
  • Determined that cattle are not a likely reservoir of the German outbreak STEC O104:H4 strain.
  • Developed and coded a “farm-to-fork” quantitative microbial risk assessment for STEC.
  • Determined that the cumulative prevalence of STEC O157:H7 and non-O157 STEC was 81% on hides and 6% on de-hided carcass surfaces in feedlot cattle, and 65% and 7%, in dairy cattle, respectively.
Fall/Winter 2014
  • STEC CAP and BCI Develop Training Modules for E. coli Prevention in Beef Cattle
  • Dr. Armitra Jackson-Davis’ lab has gained further capacity through training interns and a graduate assistant, and preliminary work for optimization studies of ultrasound and UV light treatment began in September 2014.
  • A collaborative project at Kansas State University evaluated the accuracy of various inoculation procedures that have been utilized in published literature to evaluate effectiveness of antimicrobial interventions for beef.
  • Dr. Rodney Moxley's lab at UNL further researched identification of novel colonization mechanisms to find pre-harvest interventions.
  • A study that tested the prevalence of EHEC-7 in the feces and on hides and de-hided pre-intervention carcass surfaces of culled dairy cows was completed. The study was a collaborative effort between Drs. Sharif Aly and Terry Lehenbauer at U.C-Davis (Tulare), Moxley at UNL, Bosilevac at the U.S. Meat Animal Research Center at Clay Center, NE, and Cernicchiaro at K-State.
  • Efforts to evaluate and adjust the electrostatic sprayer system (ESS) were continued by Dr. Acuff, Castillo, Griffin and Taylor at Texas A&M University, along with graduate students Jessica Hudson, and student interns Leslie Frenzel and Huisuo Huang.
  • Texas A&M graduate student, Katie Kirsch continued work with Drs. Taylor and Castillo on evaluation of STEC-8 inoculation methods through evaluation of biocontrol agents.
  • Dr. Gary Acuff, Associate Research Specialist Lisa Lucia, and graduate student Jessica Hudson traveled to K-State's BSL-3 facilities to complete a collaborative project with Dr. Randall Phebus. This project also involved the collaboration of Dr. Harshavardan Thippareddi at UNL, which evaluated the accuracy of various inoculation procedures to evaluate the effectiveness of antimicrobial interventions for beef.
Spring/Summer 2014
  • Researchers Improve E. Coli Detection
  • Governor's Conference on Ensuring Food Safety
  • Texas Researchers give E.coli STEC Project Update
  • Kansas State University Utilizes @RISK to Aid in Biosecurity for Beef Cattle
  • E. coli outbreak prompts recall of 1.8 million pounds of ground beef
  • 1.8 million pounds of beef recalled, linked to E. coli
  • Contaminated ground beef linked linked to E. coli O157:H7 outbreak


Visit Barf Blog to learn the latest news in food safety. Written by STEC CAP collaborators, Drs. Ben Chapman and Doug Powell.

To connect with the STEC CAP on social media, visit the Facebook page. You can find recent news from the collaborators and photos of projects and meetings by connecting with the STEC CAP on Facebook.