IoE Affiliate Publishes Breakthrough Research on Gut Microbes in Cattle

Carl Yeoman and student

Carl Yeoman, an associate professor in the Department of Animal and Range Sciences at MSU and affiliate of the Institute on Ecosystems, has published new research in Scientific Reports, a publication of the science journal Nature. The paper, part of a five-year research project, is the first to demonstrate that a large portion of microbes that colonize a cattle's gut are derived from contact with the mother during and after birth. 

"Gut microbes, particularly the earliest gut microbes of livestock and other mammals, play important roles in animal health, including aiding the maturation of the animals’ immune systems and sustaining nutrition," Yeoman said. "Understanding the routes of transmission of these important gut inhabitants allow us to influence their dissemination to future generations and provides motivation to protect these maternal microbial reservoirs.”

The study gives a better understanding of how to optimize livestock gut microbiota during the early stages of life, which could lead to health and more productive livestock in the long-term. 

“Dr. Yeoman is using cutting-edge microbiological science to find answers to some of agriculture’s big problems,” said Patrick Hatfield, head of MSU’s Department of Animal and Range Sciences. “The overall health of an animal, its ability to reproduce and how well it can fight off disease happens on the molecular level. His research is providing the agricultural industry with insight into the earliest interactions of an animal that has a life-long impact.”

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