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Food Animal

Winter 2017

The secrets in a tick’s gut

It may be possible to use good bacteria to control bad bacteria and, in the process, reduce the use of chemicals currently employed for such control. Just look in a tick’s gut.

Kelly Brayton, a WSU veterinary microbiologist, and her colleagues study the pathogens in ticks that cause disease in livestock and humans. The pathogens infest ticks’ guts and salivary glands and, along with other non-pathogenic organisms, comprise the tiny arachnid’s microbiome.

They’ve recently been studying something fascinating: If a tick is infected by a non-disease causing strain of the bacteria Anaplasma marginale, its bite won’t transmit anaplasmosis to its human victim. This “exclusion process,” … » More …