A cross-sectional study of the nasal and fecal microbiota of sows from different health status within six commercial swine farms

Andreia G. Arruda, Loic Deblais, Vanessa L. Hale, Christopher Madden, Monique Pairis-Garcia, Vishal Srivastava, Dipak Kathayat, Anand Kumar, Gireesh Rajashekara

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background. Cull sows are a unique population on swine farms, often representing poor producing or compromised animals, and even though recent studies have reported that the microbiome is associated with susceptibility to diseases, the microbiome of the cull sow population has not been explored. The main objective of this study was to investigate whether there were differences in fecal and upper respiratory tract microbiota composition for groups of sows of different health status (healthy, cull, and compromised/ clinical sows) and from different farms (1 to 6). Methods. Six swine farms were visited once. Thirty individual fecal samples and nasal swabs were obtained at each farm and pooled by five across health status and farm. Samples underwent 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing and nasal and fecal microbiota were analyzed using QIIME2 v.2021.4. Results. Overall, the diversity of the nasal microbiota was lower than the fecal microbiota (p < 0.01). No significant differences were found in fecal or nasal alpha diversity by sow’s health status or by farm. There were significant differences in nasal microbial composition by farm and health status (PERMANOVA, p < 0.05), and in fecal microbiota by farm (PERMANOVA, p < 0.05), but not by health status. Lastly, at the L7 level, there was one differentially abundant taxa across farms for each nasal and fecal pooled samples. Discussion. This study provided baseline information for nasal and fecal microbiota of sows under field conditions, and results suggest that farm of origin can affect microbial diversity and composition. Furthermore, sow’s health status may have an impact on the nasal microbiota composition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere12120
StatePublished - Sep 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Cull sows
  • Nasal and fecal microbiota
  • Swine
  • Swine health
  • Swine microbiota

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences


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