New Air Cleaning Device Cuts
Salmonella in Poultry Houses
By Sharon Durham
February 23, 2000
A new electrostatic air cleaning
system reduced airborne Salmonella by 94 percent in a commercial hatchery in
Georgia recently, according to Agricultural
Research Service scientists who developed the system.
Once its incorporated into commercial poultry operations, the system
promises to improve food safety by reducing Salmonella in hatching cabinets--a
primary source of Salmonella contamination for broiler chickens. Strong air
currents can spread Salmonella from a single infected chick to all of the
chicks in a hatching cabinet.
The new system, developed by ARS scientist Bailey W. Mitchell at the
Southeast Poultry Research Laboratory
in Athens, Ga., captures dust that harbors hitchhiking organisms such as
Salmonella. Dust is electrostatically charged and captured on special plates
that are automatically washed clean at prescribed intervals. The system has
been tested in hatching cabinets of two large poultry integrators as well as in
experimental caged layer rooms.
Results of the most recent commercial experiments showed an average
reduction of 77 percent in dust levels and 94 percent less enterobacteriaceae
(commonly encountered bacteria such as Salmonella and E. coli that
frequently cause disease) than a cabinet treated with hydrogen peroxide
disinfectant. The system has also been shown to reduce airborne Salmonella
enteritidis in a caged layer room by 95 percent and to have a strong
killing effect on Salmonella at close range.
Researchers applied for a patent in July 1998, and two companies have
licensed the technology. A commercial version of the system, called Clean
Chick, has been developed by BioIon, a newly formed company in
Watkinsville, Ga., and it is being distributed by Surepip, Inc., of Dallas, Ga.
Major poultry companies around the world, including the United States,
Mexico, South America, Japan, Korea, Israel and Holland, also have expressed
interest in the system as a food safety intervention approach.
Scientific contact: Bailey Mitchell, ARS
Southeast Poultry Laboratory, phone (706) 546-3443,