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K-State Today

April 18, 2012

Graduate student's cattle research rounds up top honor

Submitted by Communications and Marketing

Research on a bacteria that helps fights metabolic disorders in cattle on high-energy diets has earned a Kansas State University graduate student first-place honors from the Plains Nutrition Council.

Kevin Miller, doctoral student in animal sciences and industry from Manhattan, earned the honor at the council's recent graduate student competition in San Antonio. Miller competed against 31 other master's and doctoral students from 11 academic institutions. He garnered 80 percent of the first-place votes for his scientific presentation, "Orally Dosing Cattle with Lactipro to Accelerate Adaptation to High-Concentrate Diets." The recognition comes with a $2,000 cash award.

"Kevin's award is special because the subject of his research, Lactipro, is the culmination of nearly 10 years of collaboration between the Kansas State University and industry," said Jim Drouillard, professor of animal sciences and industry and Miller's lead professor.

"I am very fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with this exciting new product," Miller said. "Producers typically adapt cattle to high-energy diets using several different diets to prevent metabolic disorders. Our research shows that cattle given Lactipro can be placed directly onto high-energy diets without experiencing metabolic disorders. This simplifies operations by decreasing the number of different diets that need to be fed."

Lactipro, a registered trademark, is a product by MS-Biotec in Wamego. It is a unique strain of the microorganism Megasphaera elsdenii, which effectively combats serious metabolic disorders in cattle fed high-energy diets.

MS-Biotec established operations in Kansas in 2010 with support of the Kansas Bioscience Authority, and soon after received U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval to use Megasphaera elsdenii in cattle.

Miller is employed full-time as manager of the university's Beef Cattle Research Center, a part of the department of animal sciences and industry. He completed his master's degree earlier this semester, and is now seeking his doctorate in animal sciences and industry with a focus on feedlot cattle nutrition and management. He also earned his bachelor's from the university. He is the son of Jeff and Debbie Miller, Leavenworth.

The Plains Nutrition Council is an annual two-day scientific exchange among professional industry consultants, feedlot managers, academicians and allied industry representatives involved in the beef feedlot industry. More than 500 participants were present at this year's event.