Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: February 20, 2009
Publication Date: May 18, 2009
Citation: Roberts, B.N., McLaughlin, M.R., Brooks, J.P. 2009. Spatial and temporal analysis of microbial populations in production broiler house litter [abstract]. American Society of Microbiology. Paper No. Q-099. Technical Abstract: Broiler production is the leading agricultural commodity in Mississippi. The economic advantage of this resource exceeds all other principal agricultural commodities in Mississippi combined. Broiler litter is an essential component to broiler production, however it is known to harbor both human and poultry pathogenic bacteria; hence, the focus of this study is the spatial, physical, and biological factors affecting the composition of the litter microbial population. By looking at the intra-house spatial distribution of bacterial populations across three flocks, this study can determine if certain bacterial populations are characteristically more prone to be in specific areas of the house. Regions of interest were near water lines, feeders, side walls, and ends of the house. An analysis of the temperature and moisture content was conducted to determine if temporal variability influenced microbial populations. Staphylococci, enterococci, Clostridium perfringens, in addition to common food-borne pathogens, Salmonella, Campylobacter and Listeria, were culturally assessed from site-specific litter. Assays consisted of most probable number (MPN), standard plating, membrane filtration, presence/absence, and polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Clostridium perfringens, staphylococci, and enterococci were consistently at levels of 104, 109 and 105 colony forming units, respectively. Campylobacter was at levels below detection throughout the study. Salmonella and Listeria were inconsistently found. Select isolates were screened for antibiogram patterns and real-time PCR assays were used to target litter-borne antibiotic-resistance genes. These findings could prove beneficial in understanding intrahouse site microbial variability which could be targeted to reduce human and nuisance pathogenic bacterial populations.