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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BARC) » Beltsville Agricultural Research Center » Animal Genomics and Improvement Laboratory » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #316690


Location: Animal Genomics and Improvement Laboratory

Title: The effect of helminth infection on the microbial composition and structure of the caprine abomasal microbiome

item Li, Robert
item LI, WEIZHONG - J Craig Venter Institute
item Baldwin, Ransom - Randy
item YU, PENG - Texas A&M University
item Urban, Joseph

Submitted to: Scientific Reports
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/8/2016
Publication Date: 2/8/2016
Citation: Li, R.W., Li, W., Baldwin, R.L., Yu, P., Urban Jr, J.F. 2016. The effect of helminth infection on the microbial composition and structure of the caprine abomasal microbiome. Scientific Reports. 6:20606.

Interpretive Summary: The barber's pole worm Haemonchus contortus infection in goats and sheep reduces profitability for farmers worldwide due to increased animal mortality, decreased growth, and increased treatment cost. In this study, we attempted to understand the effect of parasitic infection on the microbial composition of the abomasal microbiome in dairy goats using next-generation sequencing and bioinformatics tools. We identified 132 microbial species that were significantly impacted by parasitic infection. Our findings provide novel insights into host-pathogen interactions and should guide future development of nutrition based parasite control strategies.

Technical Abstract: Haemonchus contortus is arguably the most important helminth parasite for small ruminants. Here we characterized the impact of helminth infection on the caprine abomasal microbiome. Fourteen parasite naive goats were exposed to 5,000 H. contortus L3 larvae for 50 days. Six age-matched goats served as naive controls. Infection resulted in reduced bodyweight gain and an increase in the abosamal pH, compared to control. The infection increased bacterial load while reducing the abundance of the Arachea in the abomasum. The infection did not appear to affect microbial diversity. Nevertheless, the infection altered abundance of approximately 25.4% of the 520 species-level operational taxonomic units (OTU) detected per sample. A total of 67 taxa displayed significantly altered abundance between control and infected groups. Furthermore, the infection resulted in a distinct difference in the microbiome structure. The elevated Prevotella abundance in infected animals may have implications in impairing host protein metabolism. The helminth colonization has potential to modulate butyrate biosynthesis in the hindgut, which may play a role in regulation tissue inflammation. Our results provided novel insights into physiological consequences of the helminth infection, which should facilitate development of novel strategies for helminth control in animals and humans.