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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Related Topics

Research Project: Pathogen Reduction and Processing Parameters in Poultry Processing Systems

Location: Poultry Microbiological Safety & Processing Research

2012 Annual Report


1a. Objectives (from AD-416):
1. Develop, evaluate, and validate alternatives to current antimicrobials and sanitizers for processing poultry carcasses that meet national and international food safety standards. Specifically, alternatives to chlorine and chlorine dioxide, such as GRAS surfactants, ozone, acidified sodium chloride, and peroxyacids should be examined. 2. Characterize and evaluate poultry processing conditions associated with processed broiler carcasses that are heavily contaminated by Salmonella. This objective will include determining microbial recovery/extraction rates for poultry rinse sampling and examining survival characteristics for Salmonella serotypes that survive processing operations. Sampling should include whole carcasses that are high shedders, and mechanically-separated poultry parts. 3. Conduct studies on extrinsic factors that influence the survival and attachment of pathogenic, spoilage, and indicator microorganisms recovered from commercial poultry processing operations. These include water activity, pH, ozone, metal chelators, and organic acids. 4. Collaborate with the QSARU at Athens to develop emerging technologies for process control and correlate molecular and cultural analysis of microbial communities in poultry with process control and pathogen contamination.


1b. Approach (from AD-416):
Technologies will be developed that can be utilized by commercial processors to reduce microbial contamination associated with poultry processing. Formulations for novel sanitizers will be developed, and improved techniques utilizing sanitizers already approved for commercial use in processing will be designed. Surfactant based sanitizers used alone or in combination with non-chlorine based sanitizers will be examined as alternatives to chlorine and chlorine dioxide for decreasing microbial contamination of poultry. Additionally, poultry processing conditions associated with broiler carcasses heavily contaminated by Salmonella will be evaluated and characterized. Cross contamination during processing will be examined by studying the role of these heavily contaminated carcasses in the spread of Salmonella during processing. Furthermore, factors that influence survival and attachment of pathogenic, spoilage, and indicator microorganisms on poultry skin will be examined. Microorganisms on poultry skin will be examined utilizing Benchtop scanning electron microscopy (SEM) with SEM software and with standard microbiological methods. Finally, in collaboration with the Quality Assessment Research Unit (QARU), correlations between molecular and cultural analysis of microbial communities on poultry skin will be examined and emerging technologies for process control will be developed. Technology will be designed for use in the rapid detection and identification of pathogenic bacteria associated with poultry processing and for the characterization of microbial biofilms on broiler skin. All research goals will be achieved through an interdisciplinary team approach utilizing knowledge and skills of Unit scientists and other scientists who possess unique skills and resources that will aid in the successful completion of this project.


3. Progress Report:
Extensive progress was made on 3 of the objectives. Under Objective 1, experiments that studied the effect of power of hydrogen (pH) on the ability of alkaline salts of three fatty acids (FA) to inhibit growth of bacteria associated with poultry processing were conducted. Findings from these studies demonstrated that the pH of solutions of alkaline salts of FA may influence the antibacterial activity of the surfactants towards bacteria associated with poultry processing. Under Objective 3, research was conducted that demonstrated that Campylobacter bacteria can be grown aerobically in media supplemented with organic acids that are metabolized by these pathogenic bacteria. The development of this bacteriological media will simplify procedures for growing Campylobacter since utilization of the media will allow scientists to grow the bacterium without the use of specialized gaseous atmospheres and expensive incubation equipment. Studies were also conducted that examined changes in the microbial quality of scalder and chiller water during poultry processing operations in commercial poultry processing facilities. Results from these studies showed that there was a significant increase in the number of pathogens recovered from scalder water; however, there was a smaller increase in the number of pathogens recovered from water taken from immersion chiller tanks. These experiments will provide researchers and commercial processors with additional data that can be used to understand cross contamination and pathogen survival in poultry processing water. Experiments were also conducted to develop a new technique for rapidly identifying Salmonella bacteria. The new technique identifies the bacteria based on the structure of the bacterial Deoxyribo Nucleic Acid (DNA), and it will provide researchers with a tool for rapidly identifying Salmonella. Additional studies developed a new method for Campylobacter detection using specific antibodies that were developed for the bacterium. This biosensor-based detection technology will provide the poultry industry with a novel, rapid method for detecting Campylobacter species (spp.) in poultry production and processing. Under Objective 4, studies on the development of rapid methods for the detection and identification for foodborne bacterial pathogens associated with poultry processing were conducted. A procedure called the Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FT-IR) method was investigated for its ability to detect and differentiate different species of Salmonella. Experiments showed that the FT-IR can rapidly detect and differentiate between Salmonella Typhimurium and Salmonella Enteritidis species, and it can also distinguish between live and dead cells of these bacteria with 100% accuracy.


4. Accomplishments


Review Publications
Dunkley, C.S., Cunningham, D.L., Ritz, C.W., Dunkley, K.D., Hinton Jr, A. 2011. Using mortality compost in vegetable production: A comparison between summer and winter composting and its use in cabbage production. Agriculture, Food and Analytical Bacteriology. 1:6-14.

Hannah, J.F., Wilson, J.L., Cox Jr, N.A., Richardson, L.J., Cason Jr, J.A., Buhr, R.J. 2011. Horizontal transmission of Salmonella and Campylobacter among caged and cage-free laying hens. Avian Diseases. 55:580-587.

Hannah, J.F., Wilson, J.L., Cox Jr, N.A., Richardson, L.J., Cason Jr, J.A., Buhr, R.J. 2011. Colonization of a marker and field strain of Salmonella Enteritidis and a marker strain of Salmonella Typhimurium in vancomycin pretreated and non-pretreated laying hens. Avian Diseases. 55:588-592.

Rothrock Jr, M.J. 2011. Comparison of microvolume DNA quantification methods for use with volume-sensitive environmental DNA extracts. Journal of Natural and Environmental Science. 2(1):34-38.

Hinton Jr, A., Ingram, K.D. 2011. Influence of ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA) on the bactericidal activity of fatty acids. International Journal of Poultry Science. 10:500-504.

Hinton Jr, A., Ingram, K.D. 2011. Influence of ethylenediamine-n,n’-disuccinic acid (EDDS) concentration on the bactericidal activity of fatty acids in vitro. Journal of Food Safety. 32:102-107. DOI: 10.1111/j.1745-4565.2011.00307.x.

Rothrock Jr, M.J., Vanotti, M.B., Szogi, A.A., Gonzalez, M.G., Fujii, T. 2011. Long-term preservation of Anammox bacteria. Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology. 92:147-157.

Sundaram, J., Park, B., Yoon, S.C., Hinton Jr, A., Windham, W.R., Lawrence, K.C. 2012. Classification and structural analysis of live and dead salmonella cells using fourier transform infrared (FT-IR) spectroscopy and principle component analysis (PCA). Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. 60(4):991-1004.

Rothrock Jr, M.J., Frantz, J., Burnett, S.E. 2012. Effect of volumetric water content and clover (Trifolium incarnatum) on the survival of Escherichia coli O157:H7 in a soil matrix. Current Microbiology. 65(3):272-283.

Last Modified: 10/16/2017
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