Weston Seeding Stronger Communities

Seeding Food Innovation

Awarded Project 2017

Replacing antibiotics in beef cattle production with essential oils and organic acids may improve quality and fatty acid composition of beef products

Project Description

Overall goals of this research are to investigate the effects of replacing antibiotic therapeutics (monensin and tylosin) with alternatives (essential oil blend and benzoic acid) in feedlot cattle. This study will evaluate live performance, carcass characteristics, cost of production, fresh meat quality, and sensory attributes of beef ribeye and ground beef.

Relevance to the field of food innovation

While the feeding of antibiotics has been proven to be an effective approach to raise efficient and healthy cattle, beef producers in Canada and around the world are being challenged to produce beef from cattle that are not provided antibiotics (raised without antibiotics). There is a growing consumer interest about where and how food is produced and in the case of animal-derived food products, how the animals are raised. This coupled with the widespread concern that antibiotic use in food producing animals will lead to an increase in the presence of bacteria exhibiting antimicrobial resistance, makes this research have great social and scientific implications. There is a growing demand for beef produced without antibiotics and important considerations include cost of production to beef producers and beef quality to the retail sector of the industry.

Anticipated outcome

Our approach to replace antibiotics with essential oils and (or) organic acids may provide beef producers an alternative approach to more competitively produce beef when antibiotics are removed from beef production systems. This can ultimately decrease cost of “raised without antibiotics” beef for consumers. Furthermore, research devoted to altering animal production often fails to fully investigate the impact of popular animal-derived food products such as ground beef. This research will investigate quality of beef associated with replacing antibiotics in beef cattle production with essential oils and organic acids.


Dr. Benjamin M. Bohrer

Dr. Benjamin M. Bohrer

Dr. Bohrer is an assistant professor in the food science department at the University of Guelph. Dr. Bohrer began his appointment at the University of Guelph in 2016 upon completing his PhD at the University of Illinois. He grew up on his family’s livestock and crop farm in Hillsboro, Ohio, USA. Dr. Bohrer’s research focus covers a wide range of the meat science and muscle biology spectrum. » More Info

Dr. Ira B. Mandell

Dr. Ira B. Mandell

Dr. Mandell is an associate professor in the Animal Biosciences Department at the University of Guelph in Guelph, Ontario, Canada. Ira has conducted and published numerous studies investigating live animal management regimen, breed, diet, and post-mortem processing effects on growth performance, carcass, meat and eating quality, and nutrient composition traits. » More Info