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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Related Topics


Location: Poultry Production and Product Safety Research

2012 Annual Report

1a. Objectives (from AD-416):
The research objectives of this proposal are to investigate the efficacy of combinations of organically based plant extracts, fatty acids, and lactose to: 1) reduce the incidence of foodborne pathogens Salmonella and Campylobacter in organic poultry production and 2) test the efficacy of these natural compounds against enteric disease and foodborne pathogens in organic poultry production systems. The outreach/extension objectives of this proposal are to: 1) disseminate results of the project to the organic poultry community, through numerous delivery methods including conferences, electronic and printed materials, and training activities in a research and teaching oriented organic poultry facility; 2) conduct outreach to organic poultry producers, avian health professionals, extension specialists, and other interested stakeholders regarding the objectives and results of this project, and 3) measure the impact of outreach in reducing enteric pathogens and foodborne pathogens in organic poultry production.

1b. Approach (from AD-416):
Caprylic acid (CA) is a natural, fatty acid present in bovine milk and coconut oil, and is an FDA-approved food-grade compound. Trans-cinnamaldehyde (TC) is also a food-grade compound naturally present in cinnamon oil. Our preliminary research indicates that CA and TC are bactericidal on Salmonella and Campylobacter, highlighting the potential of CA and TC as new tools to control these pathogens in organic poultry. In addition there is evidence that these compounds may reduce necrotic enteritis in birds and a disease model will be used to assess this approach. In addition treating birds and the litter with natural products such as these essential oils, probiotics and bacteriophage will also be assessed.

3. Progress Report:
This project, funded through the Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Program, NIFA, USDA is a collaborative effort with the University of Arkansas Fayetteville and Pine Bluff, University of Connecticut, University of Kentucky, University of Tennessee, Appalachian State University, and Penn State University. Studies are being conducted on using combinations of natural plant compounds and lactose (natural milk product), and management approaches customized for organic production. Our objective is to develop comprehensive strategies to eliminate enteric diseases (necrotic enteritis) and foodborne bacterial contamination (Salmonella and Campylobacter) in organically raised poultry. Research is currently being conducted under Research Objective 1. Evaluate the effectiveness of management strategies to prevent and control enteric pathogens in organic poultry. We are currently conducting trials at the Organic Poultry Research Facility in Fayetteville, AR, evaluating the effect of pasture access and housing and feeding systems on the health of the birds and incidence of enteric pathogens. Under Research Objective 3. Reduce the incidence of foodborne pathogens including Salmonella and Campylobacter in organic poultry production, we have completed trials evaluating the effect of therapeutic supplementation of plant compounds trans-cinnamaldehyde and eugenol on Salmonella enterica serovar Enteritidis colonization in market-age broiler chickens. Manuscript is published. Under the Extension/Outreach Objective 1: Disseminate results of the project to the organic poultry community, we have been working to develop a multi-faceted outreach plan for helping organic poultry farmers implement science-based management strategies to improve bird health and increase the microbiological safety of organic chicken products. During this period of the project we have participated at multiple meetings to present our project to producers and interested stakeholders, have visited with organic poultry producers, and have made significant progress in the development of educational materials for the online community and printed materials for producers without access to internet services.

4. Accomplishments

Last Modified: 07/26/2017
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