Microbial diversity in bovine Papillomatous digital dermatitis in Holstein dairy cows from upstate New York

Thiago M A Santos, Richard V. Pereira, Luciano S. Caixeta, Charles L. Guard, Rodrigo C. Bicalho

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Papillomatous digital dermatitis (PDD) is one of the most prevalent diseases of cattle, adversely affecting the dairy industry by its negative effect on milk production and reproductive performance. Our objective was to use culture-independent methods to determine the microbial diversity in different strata of PDD lesions of three Holstein dairy cows, analyzing whether major differences exist compared to foot skin of three non-infected cows. Both group-specific 16S rRNA gene PCR-denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis and clone library sequencing of broad-range 16S rRNA gene showed differences between the microbial composition of healthy dairy cows and the different strata of the lesion. The predominant bacterial community in the lesion, regardless of the stratum, consisted of 166 specific phylotypes belonging to seven bacterial phyla. Spirochetes (particularly, treponemes) was the most prominent group detected in PDD deep biopsies and was only found in samples from the lesion. Additionally, one phylotype phylogenetically affiliated with uncultured Euryarchaeota was detected in two strata of the lesion. Sequences from healthy foot skin samples revealed 86 specific phylotypes that were affiliated with Firmicutes and Proteobacteria. Our study corroborates the theory that treponemes are involved in PDD disease etiology and suggests, for the first time, the presence of archaeal members in this particular bovine infection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)518-529
Number of pages12
JournalFEMS microbiology ecology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2012


  • Dairy cow
  • Digital dermatitis
  • Lameness
  • Microbial communities
  • Treponemes


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