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BMC Microbiology

, 17:70

Ecological and evolutionary microbiology


BackgroundThe nasopharyngeal NP microbiota plays an important role in bovine health, comprising a rich and diverse microbial community. The nasopharynx is also the niche for potentially pathogenic agents which are associated with bovine respiratory disease BRD, a serious and costly illness in feedlot cattle. We used 14 beef heifers from a closed and disease-free herd to assess the dynamics of the NP microbiota of cattle that are transported to a feedlot. Cattle were sampled prior to transport to the feedlot day 0 and at days 2, 7, and 14.

ResultsThe structure of the NP microbiota changed significantly over the course of the study, with the largest shift occurring between day 0 prior to transport and day 2 P < 0.001. Phylogenetic diversity and richness increased following feedlot placement day 2; P < 0.05. The genera Pasteurella, Bacillus, and Proteus were enriched at day 0, Streptococcus and Acinetobacter at day 2, Bifidobacterium at day 7, and Mycoplasma at day 14. The functional potential of the NP microbiota was assessed using PICRUSt, revealing that replication and repair, as well as translation pathways, were more relatively abundant in day 14 samples. These differences were driven mostly by Mycoplasma. Although eight cattle were culture-positive for the BRD-associated bacterium Pasteurella multocida at one or more sampling times, none were culture-positive for Mannheimia haemolytica or Histophilus somni.

ConclusionsThis study investigated the effect that feedlot placement has on the NP microbiota of beef cattle over a 14-d period. Within two days of transport to the feedlot, the NP microbiota changed significantly, increasing in both phylogenetic diversity and richness. These results demonstrate that there is an abrupt shift in the NP microbiota of cattle after transportation to a feedlot. This may have importance for understanding why cattle are most susceptible to BRD after feedlot placement.

KeywordsCattle Nasopharyngeal microbiota Microbiome Feedlot Bovine respiratory disease 16S rRNA gene Livestock AbbreviationsANOSIMAnalysis of similarities

ANOVAAnalysis of variance

BHIBrain heart infusion

BRDBovine respiratory disease

FDRFalse discovery rate

DNADeoxyribonucleic acid

EDTAEthylenediaminetetraacetic acid

HSDHonestly significant difference

KEGGKyoto encyclopedia of genes

KOKEGG orthologies

LDALinear discriminant analysis

LEfSeLinear discriminant analysis effect size


NSTINearest sequenced taxon index

OTUOperational taxonomic units

PCoAPrincipal coordinate analysis

PCRPolymerase chain reaction

PDPhylogenetic diversity

PICRUStPhylogenetic investigation of communities by reconstruction of unobserved states

TSATryptic soy agar

QIIMEQuantitative insights into microbial ecology

Electronic supplementary materialThe online version of this article doi:10.1186-s12866-017-0978-6 contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

The original version of this article was revised to ammend the Copyright information of this manuscript.

An erratum to this article is available at

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Autor: Devin B. Holman - Edouard Timsit - Samat Amat - D. Wade Abbott - Andre G. Buret - Trevor W. Alexander


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