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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Related Topics

Research Project: Use of Natural Remedies to Alleviate Enteric Pathogens in Organic Poultry

Location: Food and Feed Safety Research

2013 Annual Report


1a.Objectives (from AD-416):
The research objectives of this proposal are to investigate the efficacy of combinations of organically based plant extracts, fatty acids, and lactose to: .
1)reduce the incidence of foodborne pathogens Salmonella and Campylobacter in organic poultry production, and.
2)test the efficacy of these natural compounds against enteric disease and foodborne pathogens in organic poultry production systems. The outreach/extension objectives of this proposal are to: .
1)disseminate results of the project to the organic poultry community, through numerous delivery methods including conferences, electronic and printed materials, and training activities in a research and teaching oriented organic poultry facility;.
2)conduct outreach to organic poultry producers, avian health professionals, extension specialists, and other interested stakeholders regarding the objectives and results of this project; and.
3)measure the impact of outreach in reducing enteric pathogens and foodborne pathogens in organic poultry production.


1b.Approach (from AD-416):
Caprylic acid (CA) is a natural, fatty acid present in bovine milk and coconut oil, and is an FDA-approved food-grade compound. Trans-cinnamaldehyde (TC) is also a food-grade compound naturally present in cinnamon oil. Our preliminary research indicates that CA and TC are bactericidal on Salmonella and Campylobacter, highlighting the potential of CA and TC as new tools to control these pathogens in organic poultry. In addition, there is evidence that these compounds may reduce necrotic enteritis in birds, and a disease model will be used to assess this approach. Treating birds and the litter with natural products such as these essential oils, probiotics, and bacteriophage will also be assessed.


3.Progress Report:

The goal of this project is to control diseases caused by Clostridium perfringens, such as necrotic enteritis, in organic poultry production systems. Work in FY 2013 focused on feeding broiler chicks an organic wheat/corn diet supplement with 2.5% lactose or 0.7% caprylic acid and then challenging the chicks orally with C. perfringens. Data established that both lactose and caprylic acid reduced the lesions caused by Clostridium. The technology and protocols developed by project work will be used by poultry veterinarians in application of effective intervention/control programs for necrotic enteritis in organic production systems. These programs will reduce the incidence and severity of this disease in commercial poultry production, thus enhancing production efficiency and profitability. As work by this project progresses, important new information will be gained that will lead to the development of safer protocols for protecting poultry and livestock produced in organic production systems against foodborne pathogens, and will also result in microbiologically safer meat products for the consumer.


Last Modified: 9/10/2014
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