Fecal Volatile Organic Ccompound Profiles from White-Tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus) as Indicators of Mycobacterium bovis Exposure or Mycobacterium bovis Bacille Calmette-Guerin (BCG) Vaccination
Stahl, R.S.; Ellis, C.K.; Nol, P.; Waters, W.R.; Palmer, M.; VerCauteren, K.C.
Plos one 10(6): E0129740
White-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) serve as a reservoir for bovine tuberculosis, caused by Mycobacterium bovis, and can be a source of infection in cattle. Vaccination with M. bovis Bacille Calmette Guerin (BCG) is being considered for management of bovine tuberculosis in deer. Presently, no method exists to non-invasively monitor the presence of bovine tuberculosis in deer. In this study, volatile organic compound profiles of BCG-vaccinated and non-vaccinated deer, before and after experimental challenge with M. bovis strain 95-1315, were generated using solid phase microextraction fiber head-space sampling over suspended fecal pellets with analysis by gas chromatography/mass spectrometry. Chromatograms were processed using XCMS Online to characterize ion variation among treatment groups. The principal component scores resulting from significant (α = 0.05) ion responses were used to build linear discriminant analysis models. The sensitivity and specificity of these models were used to evaluate the feasibility of using this analytical approach to distinguish within group comparisons between pre- and post-M. bovis challenge: non-vaccinated male or female deer, BCG-vaccinated male deer, and the mixed gender non-vaccinated deer data. Seventeen compounds were identified in this analysis. The peak areas for these compounds were used to build a linear discriminant classification model based on principal component analysis scores to evaluate the feasibility of discriminating between fecal samples from M. bovis challenged deer, irrespective of vaccination status. The model best representing the data had a sensitivity of 78.6% and a specificity of 91.4%. The fecal head-space sampling approach presented in this pilot study provides a non-invasive method to discriminate between M. bovis challenged deer and BCG-vaccinated deer. Additionally, the technique may prove invaluable for BCG efficacy studies with free-ranging deer as well as for use as a non-invasive monitoring system for the detection of tuberculosis in captive deer and other livestock.