Marshfield Clinic Research Institute has conducted the first study showing that the community of bacteria found on the bodies of healthy dairy farmers is more diverse than non-farmers. Results from the study have been published in the journal PLoS ONE and discussed in an article appearing on the animal agricultural news website Feedstuffs. This microbial diversity is believed to protect farmers against allergic and autoimmune diseases.

The nasal microbiota of dairy farmers had 2.15-fold more organisms than the nasal samples of non-farmers. Similarly, oral samples from the dairy farmer group harbored 1.5-fold more organisms, according to lead author Dr. Sanjay Shukla. Additionally, the farmer group had a lower relative abundance of Staphylococcus spp., some of which are known opportunistic pathogens.

In future studies, the research team plans to analyze whether exposure to livestock microbiomes offers protection from acute and chronic diseases.