The Use of Activated Micronized Zeolite Clinoptilolite as a Possible Alternative to Antibiotics and Chestnut Extract for the Control of Undifferentiated Calf Diarrhea: An In Vitro and In Vivo Study

Animals (Basel). 2020 Dec 3;10(12):2284. doi: 10.3390/ani10122284.


Today, zeolite appears as an interesting alternative for the symptomatic treatment of acute diarrhea. Therefore, this study aimed to investigate the properties of activated micronized (5 microns) zeolite clinoptilolite (MZC) from Transylvania, Romania, first by testing it in vitro and then in vivo on calves with diarrhea. To assess the toxic potential of the MZC, we performed a cell cytotoxicity assay using the MTT (3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide) technique on primary bovine intestinal epithelial cells (BIECs). The antimicrobial activity of MZC was investigated by measuring the minimal inhibitory concentration (MIC) on Escherichia coli (ATCC 25922). The uncontrolled in vivo study was carried out over 8 days on a fattening farm, with some 650 calves. Selected calves were randomly assigned to four groups of 20 individuals. Several combinations between MZC, chestnut extract, and oxytetracycline were tested. At the beginning of the study, all calves had diarrhea, while at the end of the study, the prevalence of diarrhea was significantly lower in all four groups (p < 0.001), including the ones treated with MZC. Due to its low cytotoxicity on the intestinal cells and with regards to the results we obtained in vivo, MZC may be considered an alternative for the symptomatic treatment of undifferentiated diarrhea in calves.

Keywords: calves; clinoptilolite; diarrhea; micronized zeolite.