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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Fayetteville, Arkansas » Poultry Production and Product Safety Research » Research » Research Project #426834

Research Project: Alternatives to Antibiotics for Controlling Salmonella and Campylobacter in Poultry and Poultry Products

Location: Poultry Production and Product Safety Research

Project Number: 6022-31230-001-011-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Jul 1, 2014
End Date: Jun 30, 2019

Investigate the use of non-antibiotic compounds as potential intervention/control strategies to reduce the colonization of the foodborne pathogens Salmonella and Campylobacter in poultry.

USDA-ARS and University of Connecticut (UConn) are both interested in the development of antibiotic alternatives to reduce foodborne pathogens for the poultry industry. The enteric pathogens Salmonella and Campylobacter infect poultry, leading to potential disease, and are significant agents for human foodborne illness. Gut microbiota is one of the most important components of the bird's resistance to these pathogens. It has been observed that commensal bacteria of the normal intestinal microbiota play a significant role in "colonization resistance" to Salmonella in poultry. Disruption of the intestinal microflora or alterations in the populations of specific bacteria in the cecum can lead to outgrowth and colonization of pathogens, including Salmonella and Campylobacter. In addition, it is reported that antibiotic therapies in poultry adversely affect the gut microbiota, thereby making the birds more susceptible to pathogen colonization. Our research team has conducted studies on the efficacy of several natural alternatives for prevention of foodborne diseases associated with poultry products. These compounds are all natural (including trans-cinnamaldehyde, caprylic acid, Beta–resorcylic acid, and chitosan), have been listed as "generally recognized as safe" (GRAS) by the FDA, have demonstrated beneficial effects on gut health, and have significant antimicrobial properties. We will study the cecal microbiome of chickens supplemented with effective GRAS status molecules and compare it with that of healthy and control birds challenged with and without Salmonella or Campylobacter. The intestinal microbiome of chickens will be studied by next generation sequencing-based approach on a high-throughput Illumina(R) HiSeq2500(R) platform. It is anticipated that the supplementation with GRAS compounds will identify populations of enteric microbes that protect chickens against pathogen colonization. This approach will identify natural non-antibiotics treatments to improve gut health in chickens, thereby enhancing the microbiological safety of poultry-derived foods.