Bioaerosol Exposures and Models of Human Responses in Dairies and Cattle Feedlots
Project PI: Stephen J. Reynolds
Research into respiratory disease and exposures in agricultural settings has focused primarily on Gram-negative bacterial endotoxins. However, endotoxins may explain only a small proportion of respiratory disease currently seen in agricultural workers. The objectives of this research are to apply novel molecular tools to better characterize bioaerosols in dairies and to compare three different approaches for measuring the effects of bioaerosols in the lung: a traditional model using, a novel model using an aerosol sampler which includes human lung cells, and nasal samples taken from workers in these environments. This project will develop better tools for understanding agricultural lung disease, and will help to develop effective interventions (e.g. modification of livestock diet to change gut flora).
Modeling and Predicting Microbiomes in Dairies: A Metagenomic Assessment of Bioaerosols
Project PI: Joshua W. Schaeffer
Dairy farmers in the U.S. and globally are at an increased risk for chronic lung disease. This research capitalizes on a current HICAHS study in Colorado dairies to increase the number of aerosols samples collected and employ bioinformatics. The objectives of this research are to comprehensively characterize the biodiversity of airborne microorganisms at dairies using high-throughput sequencing data and bioinformatics to develop a metagenomic model to predict co-occurrences and absences of microorganisms at dairies that can be applied to other industries.
Exposure Assessment of Bioaerosols in an Australian Dairy
Project PI: Sue Reed
The sampling and analysis of bioaerosols in Australia has been both problematic and expensive, making it difficult to undertake exposure assessments in remote regions. This pilot project will establish a method for the sampling, transportation and analysis of bioaerosols that can be used to establish typical worker exposures in the Australian dairy industry. The findings from this project will also facilitate an international collaboration to characterize variations in geographical diversity, and complexity of bioaerosol constituents in dairies using emerging molecular identification tools and bioinformatics.
E. coli O157 Shedding and Antimicrobial Susceptibility on Colorado Dairies
Project PI: Craig McConnel
Cattle are the primary hosts of E. coli O157, and play a major role in the epidemiology of human infections. Some cows excrete far more pathogens than other cows (“super-shedders”), though the factors that may influence shedding are not well defined. This pilot project aims to assess the quantity and duration of shedding in cattle, and identify factors potentially contributing to antimicrobial resistance among super-shedding animals.
Characterizing Biological Pollutants in Agricultural Runoff at Colorado Dairies
Project PI: Sheryl Magzamen
In most river valleys and floodplains in Colorado, the alluvial aquifer consists of groundwater that is connected to surface water, making agricultural runoff a critical environmental health issue. Multiple agricultural products and by-products may enter local watersheds. This pilot project will employ exposure assessment and sequence-based analysis to characterize the spatial and temporal patterns of bacteria, antibiotics, and antibiotic resistant genes at a sample of dairies.