High-Resolution Genomic Comparisons within Salmonella enterica Serotypes Derived from Beef Feedlot Cattle: Parsing the Roles of Cattle Source, Pen, Animal, Sample Type, and Production Period

Gizem Levent, Ashlynn Schlochtermeier, Samuel E. Ives, Keri N. Norman, Sara D. Lawhon, Guy H. Loneragan, Robin C. Anderson, Javier Vinasco, Henk C. den Bakker, H. Morgan Scott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Salmonella enterica is a major foodborne pathogen, and contaminated beef products have been identified as one of the primary sources of Salmonella-related outbreaks. Pathogenicity and antibiotic resistance of Salmonella are highly serotype and subpopulation specific, which makes it essential to understand high-resolution Salmonella population dynamics in cattle. Time of year, source of cattle, pen, and sample type (i.e., feces, hide, or lymph nodes) have previously been identified as important factors influencing the serotype distribution of Salmonella (e.g., Anatum, Lubbock, Cerro, Montevideo, Kentucky, Newport, and Norwich) that were isolated from a longitudinal sampling design in a research feedlot. In this study, we performed high-resolution genomic comparisons of Salmonella isolates within each serotype using both single-nucleotide polymorphism-based maximum-likelihood phylogeny and hierarchical clustering of core-genome multilocus sequence typing. The importance of the aforementioned features in clonal Salmonella expansion was further explored using a supervised machine learning algorithm. In addition, we identified and compared the resistance genes, plasmids, and pathogenicity island profiles of the isolates within each subpopulation. Our findings indicate that clonal expansion of Salmonella strains in cattle was mainly influenced by the randomization of block and pen, as well as the origin/source of the cattle, i.e., regardless of sampling time and sample type (i.e., feces, lymph node, or hide). Further research is needed concerning the role of the feedlot pen environment prior to cattle placement to better understand carryover contributions of existing strains of Salmonella and their bacteriophages. IMPORTANCESalmonella serotypes isolated from outbreaks in humans can also be found in beef cattle and feedlots. Virulence factors and antibiotic resistance are among the primary defense mechanisms of Salmonella, and are often associated with clonal expansion. This makes understanding the subpopulation dynamics of Salmonella in cattle critical for effective mitigation. There remains a gap in the literature concerning subpopulation dynamics within Salmonella serotypes in feedlot cattle from the beginning of feeding up until slaughter. Here, we explore Salmonella population dynamics within each serotype using core-genome phylogeny and hierarchical classifications. We used machine learning to quantitatively parse the relative importance of both hierarchical and longitudinal clustering among cattle host samples. Our results reveal that Salmonella populations in cattle are highly clonal over a 6-month study period and that clonal dissemination of Salmonella in cattle is mainly influenced spatially by experimental block and pen, as well by the geographical origin of the cattle.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e0048521
JournalApplied and environmental microbiology
Volume87
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - May 26 2021

Keywords

  • Salmonella enterica
  • beef cattle
  • core-genome MLST
  • feedlot
  • genomic comparisons
  • phylogenetic analysis
  • population structure

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