Location: Poultry Microbiological Safety Research
2008 Annual Report
In an effort to further characterize the role of the fertilized egg in the transmission of Campylobacter spp. in chickens, we will introduce a genetically characterized strain of Campylobacter jejuni (Hiett, et al., 2002), to day-of hatch chicks and test for this particular isolate in the inoculated chickens for a 70 week period. Detection of bacterial pathogens in novel locations in the chicken will allow for the development of more targeted intervention strategies.
In an effort to further our understanding of biofilm formation and persistence in poultry operations, we will (1) develop techniques to label pathogens present in biofilms, especially Listeria monocytogenes, and (2) develop methods for the production of biofilms. Environmental factors contributing to biofilm formation will be identified and further investigated for the development of possible intervention strategies.
Molecular characterization: We developed a comprehensive repetitive extragenic palindromic-PCR (rep-PCR) fingerprint library to predict serotype for Salmonella isolates for epidemiologic analyses. Semi-automated rep-PCR was evaluated as a method to determine Salmonella serotypes and may be utilized as an alternative to more time-consuming traditional serotyping methods for Salmonella. The relationship between levels of Campylobacter on contaminated poultry products and human disease showed that implicated broiler product lots (Campylobacter recovered from contaminated chicken flocks that had genetic similarity to Campylobacter isolates recovered from humans with campylobacteriosis) had significantly higher median levels of Campylobacter contamination (~3,600 cells/carcass) than did non-implicated lots (~525 cells/carcass). The differences in mean contamination levels provide a basis for regulatory action beyond that of a presence/absence standard. Colonization Factors: DNA:DNA (Deoxyribonucleic acid) microarray and suppressive subtractive hybridization analyses were employed to facilitate the identification of factors involved in the colonization of poultry by C. jejuni. Additionally, differential gene expression was monitored using RNA:DNA (ribonucleic acid) microarray analysis and 2-Dimensional Gel Electrophoresis. Several genes and proteins, such as a fibronectin binding protein (cadF) and an outer membrane protein (omp85), were identified as factors potentially involved in colonization of poultry. Microbial Ecology: Transmission of Salmonella from darkling beetles was investigated. Both adult and larval beetles convey an effective colonization dose to day-of-hatch chicks when gavaged. Salmonella was subsequently shed by the gavaged chicks in feces to colonize non-gavaged pen mate chicks. These results stress the importance of darkling beetle control programs in the overall goal to control. In an effort to further our understanding of biofilm formation, the development of methods to quantitatively assess pathogens under conditions that mimic food environments was initiated. Bacterial counts from planktonic cultures confirmed that L. monocytogenes was viable throughout the experiments. L. monocytogenes formed biofilms on all of the substrata tested. This is the first use of the crystal violet assay for measurement of bacterial biofilms on stainless steel under these conditions.
The accomplishment addresses Problems 1.1.1 (Methodology) and 1.1.3 (Ecology, Host Pathogen, and Chemical Contaminants Relationships) of the National Program 108 Food Safety 2006-2010 Action Plan for Pre-harvest Food Safety of Animals. The development of improved methods that accurately reproduce “in-plant” conditions provides for a greater understanding of the process of biofilm formation. Improved technology for artificial biofilm formation will facilitate the identification of environmental factors contributing to biofilm formation such that targeted intervention strategies can be developed.3. Molecular characterization of zoonotic pathogens associated with poultry: In an effort to more accurately track the transmission of zoonotic pathogens through poultry production and processing environments, improved molecular subtyping technologies are needed. We continued the development of an expanded, more comprehensive repetitive extragenic palindromin-PCR (rep-PCR) fingerprint library (for Salmonella spp.) that will facilitate more accurate serotype designations for unknown Salmonella isolates to support epidemiologic analyses. The rep-PCR, utilizing a semi-automated procedure, was successfully evaluated as a method to determine Salmonella serotypes. This method may be utilized as an alternative to more time-consuming traditional serotyping methods for Salmonella spp.
The accomplishment addresses Problems 1.1.1 (Methodology) of the National Program 108 Food Safety 2006-2010 Action Plan for Pre-harvest Food Safety of Animals. The development of improved methods that accurately track pathogens from “farm to fork” will allow for improved understanding of the epidemiology of these pathogens in poultry. This improved understanding is necessary for the development and refinement of intervention strategies aimed at disruption of bacterial physiology will reduce these agents in poultry.
5.Significant Activities that Support Special Target Populations
Hiett, K.L., Stern, N.J., Cray, P.J., Cox Jr, N.A., Seal, B.S. 2007. Molecular phylogeny of the flaa short variable region (svr) among campylobacter spp isolates collected during an annual evaluatoin of poultry flocks in the southeastern united states. Foodborne Pathogens and Disease. 4(3):339-347.
Simmons, I.M., Hiett, K.L., Stern, N.J., Frank, J. 2008. Comparison of Poultry Exudate and Carcass Rinse Sampling Methods for the Recovery of Campylobacter spp. Subtypes Demonstrates Unique Subtypes Recovered from Exudate. Journal of Microbiological Methods. 74:89-93.
Hiett, K.L., Stintzi, A., Andacht, T.M., Kuntz, R.L., Seal, B.S. 2008. Genomic Difference between Campylobacter jejuni Isolates Identify Surface membrane and Flagellar Function Gene Products Potentially Important for Colonizing the Chicken Intestine.. Functional and Integrative Genomics. Epubed. 8(4):407-20.
Seal, B.S., Hiett, K.L., Kuntz, R.L., Woolsey, R., Schegg, K., Ard, M., Stintzi, A. Proteomic Analyses of a Robust versus a Poor Chicken Gastrointestinal Colonizing Isolate of Campylobacter jejuni. Journal of Proteome Research. 6:4582-4591.