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Interpretive Summary: Characterization of bacterial DNA identified in abscessed and non-abscessed bovine hepatic tissue at the time of harvest

By Anne Zinn

Bovine liver abscesses continue to be a primary concern facing beef production efficiency and, despite current mitigation strategies, significant variation exists in the rate of liver condemnation. Bacteriological characterization of bovine liver abscesses has been accomplished by cultural methods, but because many bacteria are not conducive to laboratory culture. DNA methods are still needed. To date, there have not been any studies which identify the bacterial presence within healthy, non-abscessed liver tissue. Therefore, in order to determine efficacy of products or strategies aimed at the elimination of pathogenic bacteria or their translocation to the liver, a study recently published in the Journal of Animal Science aimed to compare the bacteriome of both abscessed and non-abscessed livers of Holstein steers in an observational case-control study design. 

The results of the present study reinforces that the primary etiological agent isolated from liver abscesses is F. necrophorum and suggests that infections may also be polymicrobial. Additionally, results indicate that the bacterial community may not necessarily cluster together, according to the liver score designation. Most importantly, the results of this study demonstrate, for the first time, evidence that nucleic acids belonging to F. necrophorum may be present in the liver, regardless of the presence of an abscess or active infection. Culture-dependent methods are needed to confirm the viability of this bacterium obtained from non-abscessed livers.

The full paper can be found on the Journal of Animal Science webpage.