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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Campylobacter Colonization of the Crops of Newly Hatched Leghorn Chicks

Authors
item Ziprin, Richard
item Harvey, Roger
item Hume, Michael
item Kubena, Leon

Submitted to: Avian Diseases
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: April 2, 2002
Publication Date: December 1, 2002
Citation: ZIPRIN, R.L., HARVEY, R.B., HUME, M.E., KUBENA, L.F. CAMPYLOBACTER COLONIZATION OF THE CROPS OF NEWLY HATCHED LEGHORN CHICKS. AVIAN DISEASES. 2002. v. 46. p. 985-988.

Interpretive Summary: Chicken carcasses are often contaminated by the bacterium, Campylobacter, and this bacterium causes severe food poisoning in humans. Campylobacteria are present in the upper part of the chicken's digestive system known as "the crop." At the time chickens are slaughtered, the crops may rupture and their contents, which may include campylobacteria, can spill onto the raw poultry and contaminate it. If this contaminated poultry is not properly cooked, it may become a source of food poisoning. There is very little known about how campylobacteria are able to establish themselves in the crop. We studied the ability of normal and mutant campylobacteria to live in the crop. We found that certain genes, that are necessary for campylobacteria to live in the lower part of the chicken's intestines, are not involved in campylobacteria presence in the upper part of the chicken digestive tract. Learning how campylobacteria are able to live in the crop is an essential step toward preventing food poisoning.

Technical Abstract: Sixty percent of the crops of market age birds contain Campylobacter. This may not represent true colonization but transient presence of the organism. In our present studies, we studied colonization of crops in newly hatched chicks by wild type and mutant strains of Campylobacter (C.) jejuni. Groups of 15 day-of-hatch Leghorn chicks were orally gavaged with 10**8 CFU of the wild-type strain or with an equivalent number of mutant C. jejuni, which had been previously shown to be incapable of colonizing the cecum. Three birds from each challenged group were killed by cervical dislocation on days 1, 3, 5, 7, and 9 after inoculation, and crop C. jejuni concentrations were determined. We established that the wild-type parent strain forms a stabile population level within the crop and that the mutant strains will do likewise. Concentrations of mutant strains in the crop were usually below those of the wild-type parent strain and ranged from 10**3 to 10**5 CFUs. These results indicate that the bacterial factors necessary for colonization of the crop are not the same as those needed for colonization of the cecum.

Last Modified: 11/20/2014
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