Dysbiosis of the fecal microbiota in feedlot cattle with hemorrhagic diarrhea

Mohamed Zeineldin, Brian Aldridge, James Lowe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The bovine gastrointestinal microbiota is a complex polymicrobial ecosystem that plays an important role in maintaining mucosal health. The role of mucosal microbial populations in the pathogenesis of gastrointestinal diseases has been well established in other species. However, limited information is available about changes in the fecal microbiota that occur under disease conditions, such as hemorrhagic diarrhea in feedlot cattle. The objectives of this study were to characterize the differences in fecal microbiota composition, diversity and functional gene profile between feedlot calves with, and without, hemorrhagic diarrhea. Deep fecal swabs were collected from calves with hemorrhagic diarrhea (n = 5) and from pen matched healthy calves (n = 5). Genomic DNA was extracted, and V1-V3 hypervariable region of 16S rRNA gene was amplified and sequenced using the Illumina MiSeq sequencing. When compared to healthy calves, feedlot cattle with hemorrhagic diarrhea showed significant increases in the relative abundance of Clostridium, Blautia and Escherichia, and significant decreases in the relative abundance of Flavobacterium, Oscillospira, Desulfonauticus, Ruminococcus, Thermodesulfovibrio and Butyricimonas. Linear discriminant analysis effect size (LEfSe) also revealed significant differences in bacterial taxa between healthy calves and hemorrhagic diarrhea calves. This apparent dysbiosis in fecal microbiota was associated with significant differences in the predictive functional metagenome profiles of these microbial communities. In summary, our results revealed a bacterial dysbiosis in fecal samples of calves with hemorrhagic diarrhea, with the diseased calves exhibiting less diversity and fewer observed species compared to healthy controls. Additional studies are warranted in a larger cohort of animals to help elucidate the trajectory of change in fecal microbial communities, and their predictive functional capacity, in calves with other gastrointestinal diseases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)123-130
Number of pages8
JournalMicrobial Pathogenesis
StatePublished - Feb 2018


  • 16S rRNA
  • Feedlot cattle
  • Hemorrhagic diarrhea
  • Microbiota

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Infectious Diseases


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