Topography of the respiratory tract bacterial microbiota in cattle

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Christopher McMullenEdouard Timsit

Abstract

Background Bacterial bronchopneumonia (BP) is the leading cause of morbidity and mortality in cattle. The nasopharynx is generally accepted as the primary source of pathogenic bacteria that cause BP. However, it has recently been shown in humans that the oropharynx may act as the primary reservoir for pathogens that reach the lung. The objective was therefore to describe the bacterial microbiota present along the entire cattle respiratory tract to determine which upper respiratory tract (URT) niches may contribute the most to the composition of the lung microbiota. Methods Seventeen upper and lower respiratory tract locations were sampled from 15 healthy feedlot steer calves. Samples were collected using a combination of swabs, protected specimen brushes, and saline washes. DNA was extracted from each sample and the 16S rRNA gene (V3-V4) was sequenced. Community composition, alpha-diversity, and beta-diversity were compared among sampling locations. Results Microbiota composition differed across sampling locations, with physiologically and anatomically distinct locations showing different relative abundances of 1,137 observed sequence variants (SVs). An analysis of similarities showed that the lung was more similar to the nasop...Continue Reading

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