It is unknown if the composition of an udder microbiome affects a dairy cow’s susceptibility to mastitis infections. Certain microbiomes may be more resistant to infection than others, and this knowledge would be useful in trying to establish a healthy udder microbiome in dairy cattle. We are attempting to compare microbiomes between healthy and diseased cows in the weeks leading up to infection for the purposes of defining a healthy microbiome.
Mastitis and the Microbiome
In the gastrointestinal bacterial pathogens must compete with resident non-pathogenic bacteria. At the molecular level, very little is known about the details of antagonistic interactions between bacterial pathogens and the microbiome. This research program will expand the fundamental knowledge of the interactions that occur between Salmonella enterica and the microbiome.
Salmonella enterica Interbacterial Antagonism
In this project we hypothesize that E. coli mastitis is the partial result of a pre-disposing gastrointestinal microbiome composition. To test this hypothesis and possibly develop a new mastitis prophylactic we are attempting to use new CRISPR-Cas systems to edit certain pathotypes of E. coli out of the bovine gastro-intestinal tract.
Novel E. coli Mastitis Treatments
Vitamin B12 and the Microbiome
Milk is an ideal source of vitamin B12. However, vitamin B12 concentrations in milk are highly variable. In this study microbiome we are attempting to define the role of the rumen microbiome in determining the concentration of vitamin B12 in milk.
The Chicken Microbiome Project
This project focuses on understanding the range of bacteria present in the chicken gastrointestinal tract, in healthy birds, for the discovery of novel probiotics. We hypothesize that commensal bacteria in the healthy avian intestine are capable of effectively killing pathogens, and thus preventing infection.
This collaborative project aims to develop novel anti-bacterial food packaging materials based on the presence of mechano-bactericidal nanomaterials.