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ARS Home » Plains Area » College Station, Texas » Southern Plains Agricultural Research Center » Food and Feed Safety Research » Research » Research Project #439780

Research Project: Immunological and Practical Approaches to Manipulate the Ecological Niches and Reduce Foodborne Pathogens in Poultry

Location: Food and Feed Safety Research

Project Number: 3091-32000-037-000-D
Project Type: In-House Appropriated

Start Date: Mar 17, 2021
End Date: Mar 16, 2026

Objective 1: Characterize the immune-metabolic signatures of the host:pathogen interactome following Salmonella and Campylobacter infection in the cecum that transforms host defenses from 'disease resistance' to 'disease tolerance' and mitigates long-term persistent intestinal infection in broilers chickens. Objective 2: Determine the intestinal kinome profile and antimicrobial resistance patterns associated with Salmonella and Campylobacter colonization in broiler chickens with high or low concentrations of these foodborne pathogens. Objective 3: Develop new strategies (including immunologic training) to reduce foodborne pathogens by targeting neonatal poultry gut health via stimulating the development and maturation of the intestinal immune system. Sub-objective 3.A: Deliver non-nutritional dietary feed additives to breeder chickens (hens and roosters) to induce /enhance trans-generational trained innate immunity as both a prophylactic and as a therapeutic agent in neonatal chickens against foodborne pathogens. Sub-objective 3.B: Evaluate a novel innate immune therapeutic as an alternative to antibiotics that targets innate immunity based on the ability of the immune system to detect bacterial viability through the recognition of viability-associated microbial associated molecular patterns (vita-MAMPs). Sub-objective 3.C: Develop a novel immunogenic probiotic to improve neonatal poultry gut health and stimulate the development and maturation of the intestinal immune system. Objective 4: Develop intervention strategies and alternatives to antibiotics to reduce the bacterial load of foodborne pathogens during pre-harvest poultry production. Objective 5: Investigate the interaction between yeast and fungi and foodborne bacteria to determine their role as commensals, inhibitors, or their use as alternatives to antibiotics as pre-and probiotics.

Despite control efforts, foodborne illnesses due to Salmonella continues to impact the consumer. Poultry are commonly identified as a major source of Salmonella. We will take a multi-faceted approach to develop urgently needed new control strategies against Salmonella, and our integrated approaches will identify and evaluate applied and basic pre-harvest approaches to reduce Salmonella in poultry. Based on previous research and collaborations with industry, we will identify and/or modify management practices to reduce foodborne pathogen load and will address environmental conditions associated with higher risks that enable pathogen survival and growth. Direct and indirect modulation of gut microbiome-innate immune interactome will be evaluated to determine which natural host mechanisms can be exploited to strengthen therapeutic benefit. Modulating the innate immune response has considerable potential to induce a profound and rapid cross-protection against multiple serovars of foodborne pathogens. Salmonella have evolved a unique survival strategy in poultry that minimizes host defenses during the initial infection and then exploits and/or induces a dramatic immunometabolic reprogramming in the cecum that alters the host defense to induce a disease tolerance. Therefore, a component of the research will concentrate on modulatory mechanisms (vaccination, pro- and postbiotic) to counter these reprogramming mechanisms and lead to the development of novel immunometabolic therapeutic strategies. This research will enhance the microbiological safety of poultry and reduce potential antimicrobial resistance in animal agriculture and public health.