Longitudinal dynamics of farmer and livestock nasal and faecal microbiomes and resistomes

Nat Microbiol. 2024 Apr;9(4):1007-1020. doi: 10.1038/s41564-024-01639-4. Epub 2024 Apr 3.


Globally, half a billion people are employed in animal agriculture and are directly exposed to the associated microorganisms. However, the extent to which such exposures affect resident human microbiomes is unclear. Here we conducted a longitudinal profiling of the nasal and faecal microbiomes of 66 dairy farmers and 166 dairy cows over a year-long period. We compare farmer microbiomes to those of 60 age-, sex- and ZIP code-matched people with no occupational exposures to farm animals (non-farmers). We show that farming is associated with microbiomes containing livestock-associated microbes; this is most apparent in the nasal bacterial community, with farmers harbouring a richer and more diverse nasal community than non-farmers. Similarly, in the gut microbial communities, we identify more shared microbial lineages between cows and farmers from the same farms. Additionally, we find that shared microbes are associated with antibiotic resistance genes. Overall, our study demonstrates the interconnectedness of human and animal microbiomes.

MeSH terms

  • Agriculture
  • Animals
  • Cattle
  • Farmers*
  • Farms
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Livestock
  • Microbiota*