Rapid Communication: 16S Ribosomal Ribonucleic Acid Characterization of Liver Abscesses in Feedlot Cattle from Three States in the United States

M. D. Weinroth C. R. Carlson J. N. Martin J. L. Metcalf P. S. MorleyK. E. Belk


Liver abscesses are a major economic burden to beef producers. Although a few causative organisms have been cultured from purulent material, the full polymicrobial diversity of liver abscesses has not been reported. The objective of this study was to characterize purulent material collected from liver abscess in beef cattle produced in different production systems in 3 cattle producing states in the United States using 16S rRNA gene sequencing. Differences between purulent material microbial communities among geographic region of feeding and application of a common antimicrobial were also investigated. Cattle included in the study were fed in California (dairy type) and Colorado and Texas (both beef type). Liver abscesses from a cross section of feedlots, geographic areas, and tylosin phosphate–administered groups were collected at harvest; DNA from 34 liver abscess samples was extracted; and the V4 region of the 16S rRNA gene was amplified and sequenced. Sequences were classified into 5 phyla, 13 classes, and 17 orders in the domain Bacteria. The phyla identified included Bacteroidetes (35.2% of reads), Proteobacteria (28.6%), Fusobacteria (18.2%), Firmicutes (12.4%), and Actinobacteria (5.5%). Sequences matching the genera Fusobacteriumand Trueperella, which have previously been identified as causative agents in liver abscesses, were both present in the abscess bacterial communities at a relative abundance of 15.1 and 3.2%, respectively, of the overall relative abundance. Furthermore, 3 of the most common phyla were Gram-negative bacteria. An analysis-of-similarities test was conducted on Euclidean distances to assess differences between cattle treated and not treated with tylosin as well as to assess differences between geographic regions. Geographical region and treatment with tylosin did affect the microbiome (P = 0.002 and P = 0.026 respectively); however, a more robust sample scheme is needed to explore these differences. To our knowledge, this is the first publication describing the complex community of liver purulent material using next generation sequencing in cattle. These data provide a framework for research on a more targeted approach to liver abscess prevention and treatment.

Link to “Journal of Animal Science” paper

M. D. Weinroth C. R. Carlson J. N. Martin J. L. Metcalf P. S. MorleyK. E. Belk. Journal of Animal Science, Volume 95, Issue 10, 1 October 2017, Pages 4520–4525, https://doi.org/10.2527/jas2017.1743