The nasopharyngeal microbiota of feedlot cattle that develop bovine respiratory disease


Holman, D.B., McAllister, T.A., Topp, E., Wright, A.D.G., Alexander, T.W. (2015). The nasopharyngeal microbiota of feedlot cattle that develop bovine respiratory disease. Veterinary Microbiology, [online] 180(1-2), 90-95.


Bovine respiratory disease is the major cause of morbidity and mortality in feedlot cattle. The objective of this study was to compare the nasopharyngeal bacterial microbiota of healthy cattle and cattle treated for BRD in a commercial feedlot setting using a high-density 16S rRNA gene microarray (Phylochip). Samples were taken from both groups of animals (n= 5) at feedlot entry (day 0) and ≥60 days after placement. Cattle diagnosed with BRD had significantly less bacterial diversity and fewer OTUs in their nasopharynx at both sampling times. The predominant phyla in both groups were Proteobacteria and Firmicutes. The relative abundance of the phylum Actinobacteria was lower in cattle treated for BRD. At the family-level there was a greater relative abundance (P< 0.05) of Micrococcaceae (day 0 only), Lachnospiraceae (≥60 days), Lactobacillaceae (day 0), and Bacillaceae (day 0) in healthy cattle compared to BRD-affected cattle. The community structure of the BRD-affected and healthy cattle were also significantly different from each other at both sampling times as measured using unweighted UniFrac distances. All entry samples of cattle diagnosed with BRD had 16S rRNA gene sequences representative of the BRD-associated bacteria Mannheimia haemolytica or Pasteurella multocida, although 3/5 healthy cattle were also positive for M. haemolytica at this time point. The results also indicate that the bovine nasopharyngeal microbiota is relatively unstable during the first 60 days in the feedlot.