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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Failure of Viable Nonculturable Campylobacter Jejuni to Colonize the Cecum of Newly Hatched Leghorn Chicks

item Ziprin, Richard
item Droleskey, Robert
item Hume, Michael
item Harvey, Roger

Submitted to: Avian Diseases
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: April 12, 2003
Publication Date: September 1, 2003
Citation: Ziprin, R.L., Droleskey, R.E., Hume, M.E., Harvey, R.B. 2003. Failure of viable nonculturable Campylobacter jejuni to colonize the cecum of newly hatched leghorn chicks. Avian Diseases. 47:753-758.

Interpretive Summary: Food poisoning is sometimes caused by an organism named Campylobacter jejuni. It is commonly present on chickens. We do not understand how this microbe survives in the environment or how it moves from the environment into chickens. One theory holds that chickens become contaminated with campylobacteria present in the water chickens drink. We studied changes that the microbe undergoes when it is in water, and how these changes affect the ability of campylobacteria to infect chickens. Campylobacter jejuni cells are able to change their shape and enter a resting state when they are in water-hibernation. We found that these resting cells do not infect chickens. This work helps us to better understand this important food poisoning bacterium and will ultimately help in development of procedures to reduce the incidence of Campylobacter occurrence in chicken meat products reaching the consumer.

Technical Abstract: Campylobacter jejuni cells entered the viable but nonculturable (VBNC) state upon suspension in reverse osmosis water. Viability was determined with tetrazolium violet. VBNC cells suspended in water for 7, 10, or 14 days were given, by gastric gavage, to day-of-hatch leghorn chickens. The ceca of control and challenged birds were examined by conventional microbiological methods and by polymerase chain reaction methods for the presence of campylobacteria, one week and two weeks after challenge inoculation. We found that VBNC cells did not colonize the ceca. Neither was Campylobacter DNA found in cecal samples.

Last Modified: 4/22/2015
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