Submitted to: Avian Diseases
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: January 9, 1999
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: Clostridium perfringens, an aerobic spore-forming bacterium causing human foodborne illness, can be transmitted to humans through consumption of contaminated poultry products and other high-protein foods. This organism is important to the poultry industry because it is found in the intestinal tract of birds and can cause several poultry diseases, including necrotic enteritis. It is thought also to reduce performance of poultry in the absence of overt signs of disease. The Mucosal Starter Culture(TM)(MSC) has been previously shown in controlled experiments and in field trials to inhibit colonization of the poultry intestinal tract by Salmonella species. The purpose of this study was to investigate the efficacy of the MSC culture when given to young broiler chicks in reducing intestinal occurrence of C. perfringens. Young healthy chicks were housed in units with controlled environments and subsisted on a normal corn-based diet. They were given the MSC culture and 24 h later an experimental challenge of C. perfringens. Control chicks did not receive the MSC culture. Subsequently, for 1 of 3 trials, the intestinal incidence and numbers of C. perfringens were lower in birds given MSC. Rye in the diet is known to enhance intestinal proliferation of C. perfringens. These results suggest that the MSC culture when given to young chicks may inhibit C. perfringens in the intestinal tract, especially when conditions favor proliferation of this pathogen.
Technical Abstract: Day-of-hatch broiler chicks housed in isolation units were each given by oral gavage, 0.1 ml of the Mucosal Starter Culture(TM) (MSC) or saline control. Each of the treated and control chicks were subsequently given a composite culture of three strains of bacitracin-resistant Clostridium perfringens (Cp), previously isolated from chickens with symptoms of necrotic enteritis. Some chicks were on a corn-based diet provided ad libitum. Others were given feed supplemented with 50% rye (a predisposing factor for necrotic enteritis). At 7, 14, and 21 days after receiving Cp, chicks were sacrificed, and cecal contents diluted and plated on selective agar containing bacitracin. Mean cecal numbers of Cp and the % of CP-positive birds were higher in chicks on rye feed than those on corn feed. For chicks on corn feed, Cp numbers were similar in control birds and birds given MC in two trials. However, or those two trials, the number of birds with detectable Cp enterotoxin in their small intestine and the mean toxin levels were lower in the MSC-treated birds. In the third trial with birds on corn-based feed, mean Cp numbers and the number of positive birds were lower in the MSC- treated birds. Enterotoxin in birds receiving the 50%-rye diet were at low levels or not detected in contorl and MSC-treated irds. Results suggest that MSC when given to chicks will reduce intestinal proliferation of Cp, a causative agent of necrotic enteritis in poultry and of foodborne disease in humans.