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Microb Ecol. 2019 Mar 27. doi: 10.1007/s00248-019-01361-3. [Epub ahead of print]

Lower Respiratory Tract Microbiome and Resistome of Bovine Respiratory Disease Mortalities.

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Lethbridge Research and Development Centre, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada.
Lacombe Research and Development Centre, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Lacombe, Alberta, Canada.
Alberta Agriculture and Forestry, Airdrie, Alberta, Canada.
Lethbridge Research Centre, Alberta Agriculture and Forestry, Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada.
Lethbridge Research and Development Centre, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada.


Bovine respiratory disease (BRD) continues to be a serious health problem in beef cattle production. A multifactorial condition, BRD encompasses several types of pneumonia that are associated with multiple viral and bacterial agents. Comprehensive identification of microbes associated with BRD fatalities could enhance our understanding of the range of pathogens that contribute to the disease and identify new therapeutic targets. This study used metagenomic analysis to describe the lower respiratory tract microbiome and resistome of 15 feedlot cattle BRD and 3 non-BRD mortalities along with any affiliated integrative and conjugative elements (ICEs). Known bacterial pathogens associated with BRD, including Histophilus somni, Mannheimia haemolytica, and Mycoplasma bovis, were relatively abundant (> 5%) in most, but not all samples. Other relatively abundant genera (> 1%) included Acinetobacter, Bacillus, Bacteroides, Clostridium, Enterococcus, and Pseudomonas. Antimicrobial resistance genes (ARGs) comprised up to 0.5% of sequences and many of these genes were associated with ICEs previously described within the Pasteurellaceae family. A total of 20 putative ICEs were detected among 16 samples. These results document the wide diversity of microorganisms in the lower respiratory tract of cattle that have succumbed to BRD. The data also strongly suggest that antimicrobial-resistant Pasteurellaceae strains are prevalent in BRD cases in Alberta and that the resistance observed is associated with ICEs. The presence of ICEs harboring a wide array of ARGs holds significant consequence for the effectiveness of drug therapies for the control of BRD in beef cattle.


Antimicrobial resistance; Bovine respiratory disease; Feedlot cattle; Integrative and conjugative elements; Metagenomics; Microbiome


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