The chicken tracheal microbiome: unexpected preliminary data

I wanted to post a little bit on work we have been doing to study the chicken tracheal microbiome. Mainly that we finally have some preliminary results, and they are not what we expected. Without getting into too many details, this PCoA pretty much sums it up:

gnp_all_by_tissue_pcoa

The tracheal bacterial community in developing chickens looks a lot like the litter. I guess this isn’t all that surprising considering chickens breathe in the barn dust constantly. What was interesting is that the dominant OTUs contain bacteria we would expect to find in the respiratory tract (i.e., Staphylococcus, Streptococcus, E. coli, and Moraxella) — but, surprisingly the most abundant OTUs include those that are classified as Lactobacillus! The same Lactobacillus we find in the ileum and litter. So, a major component of the tracheal bacterial community in chickens (we think) appears to be some of their own gut bacteria. This could have some big implications for modulating the gut microbiome and its global effects on the animal and barn environment, even more than we thought before…

 

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